Why we still need to be concerned about AIDS

Merely Me Health Guide
  • I was in high school when I first heard about AIDS. There was this news report about this new and frightening sexually transmitted disease which could kill you. All of a sudden you could not open a magazine, watch a TV talk show or look at the news without talk of a growing AIDS epidemic. National Public Radio  reports that on June 5, 1981 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the first scientific report of what we know now to be AIDS. Over twenty-five years has passed since that initial report and things have really changed with respect to AIDS prevention and treatment.  There is more hope than ever for people who have AIDS/HIV to live a long life. A positive HIV blood test no longer means a death sentence.

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    Yet despite all of our medical advances and education people still do die of AIDS. USAID , a U.S. government agency, reports that: "Almost 5,500 people die every day due to AIDS. AIDS caused 2 million deaths in 2007. An estimated 32 million people have died from AIDS since the beginning of the pandemic." These are global statistics yet there are still many people living in the U.S. who die from HIV. Here are the state by state statistics for the number of deaths caused by HIV in 2006 as reported by the CDC.

     

    An article everyone should read is "Why People with HIV Still Die-And why they don't have to..." written by Mark Mascolini on Health Central's The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. One of the primary reasons people are still dying of AIDS is that many people don't even realize they have AIDS and go undiagnosed until it is too late for treatment to work. You don't have to be one of these grim statistics. 

     

    In honor of World's AIDS Day (Tuesday December 1, 2009) and AIDS Awareness Month (December) we wish to focus on prevention here at Sexual Health Connection.

     

    Here are some tips as to how you can reduce your risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV:

    • Limit the number of sexual partners you have. The more partners you have, the more the odds go up for you to get an STD.
    • Avoid the one night stands and having sex with people you don't know very well. Avoid having sex with people who have multiple sexual partners.
    • Avoid sexual practices which may tear the skin. Anal sex is considered risky because skin tissue in the rectum can tear easily. Infection can easily be transmitted through even the slightest cut or tear.
    • Other than abstinence one of the best ways of decreasing your risk for HIV is for male partners to wear a condom during sexual relations. But it can't be just any condom. And spermicide may not protect you from STD's. The The US Department of Health and Human Services gives this advice about condoms: "Use a latex condom-Using a latex condom every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex decreases the chances of infection. Condoms lubricated with spermicides do not offer extra protection. Frequent use of some spermicides can increase the risk of HIV."
    • The use of a water based lubricant with a latex condom can help to prevent rips and tears in skin tissue making it harder to transmit the virus. Make sure that your lubricant or condom does not contain nonoxynol-9, a spermicide which can increase the risk for HIV.

    For a full list of ways you can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sexual activities please visit Health Central's The Body site for guidelines for safer sex

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    The folk at The Body:  The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource also recommends that as part of prevention against AIDS that everyone gets tested for HIV.  Here is their advice about why it is important to be tested:

     

    "The only time you're likely to develop any symptoms of HIV is during the "acute" phase, which lasts for six to 12 weeks after you've been infected. Once that period ends, you may well go years without your body giving away any sign whatsoever that you have HIV.

     

    This is why it's so important for everybody to get tested for HIV regularly (preferably once a year as part of a routine health checkup)."

     

    Lastly, here are some AIDS resources for readers who wish to have more information about this topic as well as support.  Remember that there are no silly questions when it comes to your sexual health.  We encourage you to get the information and answers you need to be safe and well. 

     

     

    AIDS/HIV RESOURCES:

     

     

Published On: December 01, 2009