Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Take The Test, Take Control" HIV does not discriminate!

National HIV Get Tested Day Sunday June 27, 2010
The HIV epidemic is still going strong in the United States today and this fact has been masked by the struggles of everyday life such as hard economic times, job loss, oils spills and unpredictable weather patterns. Yet every nine and a half minutes someone is infected with HIV in the United States. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is still very relevant!

It is still fully encouraged that people go out and get tested particularly this weekend! Sunday June 27, 2010 is the National HIV Testing Day. The National HIV get tested day was founded on June 27, 1995 and is organized by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in partnership with the Center for Disease Control(CDC). The initiative beckons for people everywhere to get tested and know their status. The NAPWA advocates for everyone to know their status but they mainly targets at risk groups like African Americans mainly African American women, Latinas, and gay men. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women in the United States today. African Americans only make up 13% of the U.S population, but they make up 49% of people who get HIV/AIDS. More than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S and approximately one in five of those are unaware of their infection. That breaks down to about 250,000 people who are living with the infection and do not know it. For some people who are HIV positive and do not know, they may not show any symptoms and even if one may feel healthy the HIV is still effecting their body. Early detection in many of cases can be all the difference between life and death, this is why NAPWA encourages everyone to get tested.

Barriers in HIV prevention:
One of the biggest barriers in HIV prevention comes from abstinence only education. Abstinence only until marriage education is taught to the youth all over the country, yet it does not properly equip young people with a comprehensive sex education. Most importantly it does not tell these youth the most important part which is to use a condom. But this is not only a youth issue, Crisis Pregnancy Centers do the same thing with adults. Misleading people by telling them condoms do not work and won’t protect you against HIV.

HIV is just as much a social issues as it is a medical issues, and issues of race and class are overwhelming in who gets infected and how long they survive. So whatever you decide to do this weekend please make time to go get tested, and bring a friend. Afraid of needles? No problem, there are many different forms of HIV testing which include a quick and painless swab of the mouth!

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