A night out with a bit of too much to drink could lead to some bad decisions. A partner not being truthful with their past history is a taboo in itself. Wanting to be 100% safe and healthy for your own peace of mind. No question about it, these are all reasons to go and get tested.
As young adults, we may indulge in activities that may lead to more consequences than benefits. Statistics show about 36.7 million people in the world are infected with HIV, 1.2 million people in the U.S. alone live with HIV, and 1 in 8 people don’t even know it. The only accurate way of knowing is to GET TESTED, as the symptoms are often absent, leaving a person feeling “normal” while their immune system deteriorates. For those that do experience symptoms, it closely resembles the flu, such as fever, chills, rash, night sweats, aches, and fatigue, to name. In some cases, those who did have the virus didn’t show symptoms for up to 10 years!
To be clear, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which is a virus that can cause an infection and can lead to the development of AIDS, standing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, causing a severe loss of the body’s cellular immunity.
So many of us are still stuck in the mindset that only gay, white males contract this disease, but the facts are that anyone is susceptible. Going to any run of the mill tattoo artist that doesn’t take priority in safety and health by cleaning their ink needles after EACH customer could definitely leave anyone vulnerable to the disease if there are traces of infected blood left on the tool. Engaging in unsafe sex with a partner not only leaves you wide open to the many STDs but also HIV. The chances of pregnancy are also there, as well as passing the virus to the fetus, without proper medication.
According to AIDS.gov, African Americans are STILL the leading group infected by HIV/AIDS each year. Some reasons that blacks are measured with HIV/AIDS at such an alarming rate includes lack of information and accessibility to health care, the fact that STDs occurred most within the African American community which makes susceptibility higher, and the distrust within the government resources. It’s time to get serious and time to take responsibility. There are plenty of clinics and medical service units that offer free or discounted testing year round! As always, results are confidential. Though, there are many people who live in the world today with HIV and AIDS and thanks to technology and medical innovations, many are able to still lead a normal life, but there are preventative measures we can all take.
- Get tested every 3 to 6 months or every time you’re intimate with a new partner; reduce risky sex.
- Use condoms… EVERYTIME.
- Talk to your partner about your status; get tested together.
- Don’t inject drugs; steer clear of them.
- Take advantage of community programs and organizations.
- Utilize the many hotlines available.
National Aids Day is December 1! Make it your goal to know your status by then, if not sooner. Don’t strengthen the stigma, be the standout, go get tested and know where you stand.
There is an abundance of information on this subject- scholarly articles, blogs, books, etc.; get educated, talk to your doctor, a friend, your partner.
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Do you know your status? Are you vocal about getting tested?