HIV and AIDS Awareness

Although great strides have been made regarding the treatment of HIV and AIDS, it does not negate the importance of personal responsibility. “HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and it’s the virus that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). It enters the body and infects immune system cells, as well as other cells in the body — causing more copies of the virus to be produced. A person who has been infected with HIV is living with the virus, but does not necessarily have AIDS.”

In previous times, getting diagnosed with HIV meant a certain death sentence. However, this is no longer the case.  Due to the advancement of medicine, people diagnosed with the disease are now living longer and fuller lives.  Of course, the earlier the diagnosis, the greater ones chances are for survival.  Getting testing frequently, especially if you have multiple sex partners is strongly suggested.  If you are entering into a new relationship and want to become intimate, then getting tested is a must before you engage in unprotected sex. If you use drugs inquire about needle exchange programs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 6 people  (15.8%) who are infected with HIV do not know it.  There are currently 1.1 million adults and adolescents  living in the US with HIV.  The virus can  be transmitted in other ways as well, such as the sharing of needles and syringes to inject drugs and  by the transfusion of infected  blood.  Knowing your status is very important. In some states, knowingly infecting someone with the virus could mean serious jail time. Heterosexual sex is the source of 87% of new infections.

Is the love worth the risk? Know your status and protect yourself and others!

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