What is World Aids Day?
December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day to reflect and take stock of the impact of HIV and AIDS worldwide on people and families. For those who are active in the field of education, prevention and treatment of HIV / AIDS, I salute. Those of us who are not in that profession today still offer us a moment to reflect on the current situation in the US and around the world and inform ourselves about the current state of the AIDS crisis and what we can do to protect ourselves, our families and world community.
Around the world
There are currently more than 33 million people living with HIV worldwide, with 1.5 million of them living in the US. Of those 33 million, nearly half are women and 2 million are children under the age of 15. Although HIV infections have recently declined in sub-Saharan Africa, the disease still represents a growing epidemic as 1.8 million new infections occurred in 2009 alone. While some areas have seen HIV declines, others have seen dramatic increases. For example, World AIDS Day states that more than 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, which is three times that of 10 years ago.
Here at Home
According to the same study cited above, there are 1.5 million people in the US living with HIV. Although the overall rate of new infections has slowed, the problem in the black community continues to get worse. According to the Black Aids Institute, black people make up 54% of new HIV cases in America and 70% of new HIV cases are our black youth. Our inner cities are so infected with the HIV epidemic that there are many areas labeled as “Hot Zones” where medical, psychiatric and HIV professionals are very much reaching out to educate, test, and treat our young black men and women.
What You Can Do
The good news is that more and more people are living with HIV thanks to more than 30 HIV / AIDS related drugs on the market. The bad news is that there are more HIV positive people in the dating pool, which increases your risk of infection. According to the 2010 UNAIDS.org Global Report in the US there is a 19-fold increase in the likelihood that an African-American woman will acquire HIV, compared to her Caucasian counterpart. Anyone who is sexually active, especially young black men and women, needs to take precautions.
The first and foremost step you can take is to be tested. If you’re not sure where to go or how to do it, check out this article on finding a test center. If you find out that you are positive there are many resources that can help you and a test center will be of great help in pointing you in the right direction. If you are lucky enough not to have HIV just be smart. Do not engage in unprotected sex with anyone who has not been tested or you are unsure about. For the brothers and sisters, there is no point risking your life because she is fast sensation of unprotected sex. For the sisters – stay strong and don’t give in to pressure, lines, excuses, etc. from a man telling you to have sex without a condom. If he can’t bring condoms to parties, or he doesn’t want to get them, you should probably dump them. Condoms are $ 1 and there are many places you can get them for free (like at a test center). Only a fool would risk his life for $ 1 but there are too many black men and women doing that.