I can’t remember a time without AIDS. I am a 80′s baby so I grew up with the HIV awareness commercials, the talks about it during sexual health day in school, and the endless specials on TV talking about the disease. If you remember starter jackets you remember all of the HIV education. Now it seems many have forgotten that HIV and AIDS still exist. I can’t remember the last time I saw a HIV awareness ad and most schools are too busy fighting about whether to teach sex ed at all. HIV is still a serious problem that affects all of us. If you’re having sex, HIV and AIDS should be an important issue in your life. Do not be fooled, Magic Johnson was not cured by some drugs in Europe and it’s not a ”gay” problem. Even with the advances in HIV and AIDS medicine, The Kaiser Family Foundation present facts that show that the disease is still prevalent.
• Blacks accounted for 57% of deaths due to HIV in 2007; Latinos accounted for 13%.
14 Survival after an AIDS diagnosis is lower for Blacks than for most other racial/ethnic groups, and Blacks have had the highest age-adjusted death rate due to HIV disease throughout most of the epidemic.2,8,9
• HIV was the 4th leading cause of death for Black men and 3rd for Black women, ages 25–44, in 2007, ranking higher than their respective counterparts in any other racial/ethnic group.
Key Snapshot of the U.S. Epidemic Today2,3,4,6
• Number of new HIV infections, 2009:
• Number of people living with HIV/AIDS:
• Number of AIDS deaths since beginning of epidemic:
, including more than 16,000 in 2008
• Percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it:
After reading these real stats why do I still deal with people saying ” I don’t get tested for HIV because I don’t want to know if I have it.” Some say the thought of knowing they have HIV would make them just kill themselves. Others believe no one would ever want them again. So you don’t want to know that you have a life threatening disease to get treatment? You don’t want to know so you can’t infect others? That makes logical sense because getting tested is for smart people and clearly you are a dumbass! Ignorance isn’t sexy. There is NO excuse for not getting tested. Every state has a free HIV testing center and If not then they are usually low-cost. With Rapid Test you can find out your status within 20 minutes. Not getting tested and people spreading the disease unknowingly is the one reason we will never be able to control the spread of HIV.
I understand finding out that you are positive can be a scary thing to face. Yet HIV is not the death sentence it used to be. There are more people living with HIV and managing the disease living happy lives and successful relationships. Hydeia Brodbent, the young girl who has been living with AIDS since birth and was given a life expectancy of 5, is now 27 and on the frontline of spreading awareness and HIV/AIDS education. Since 7 year olds she has been speaking from talk shows to the white house on the effects of HIV/AIDS, her personal struggles with the disease, and giving hope by showing you can live a full beautiful life while being positive. Early detection and treatment can save your life. The fear of the unknown is not a good enough excuse for you to not take responsibility of your sexual health. If you are reading this and you want to find discreet testing spots in your area please go to http://www.hivtest.org/ and type in your zip code to find testing sites in your area. Along with being tested you should be using condoms(female condoms too) each and every time you have sex to lower your risk of contracting HIV,becoming pregnant,or getting any STD. If you are being safe you can go into a testing facility and be ok with whatever outcome you get. Life is precious and meant to be cherished. I love sex as much as the next person, but I value my life and my sex partners life enough to be safe and know my status. I’m able to say I have been tested…can you say the same?