The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a health crises for African Americans in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in African Americans living in this country ages 25-44. What can be done to stop this epidemic? The following are recommendations from the CDC.
Do not have sex until you are in a relationship with only one person, are having sex with only each other and each of you know the other's HIV status. Even in such relationships, safe sex should be practiced.
If you have or plan to have more than one sexual partner, use a latex condom and lubricant every time you have a sexual encounter.
Get tested - New recommendations suggest HIV testing for adults, adolescents and pregnant women as part of routine medical care. Know your HIV status.
Do not inject drugs because HIV and hepatitis can be spread through needles and syringes if contaminated with infected blood.
Do not engage in sexual behaviors if taking drugs or drinking alcohol because being high can make you more likely to take risks.
Knowledge is key to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Getting tested and knowing one's status (positive or negative) has a huge impact among communities. Studies have shown that many infected persons decrease behaviors that spread the virus once they are aware of their positive HIV status.
The New Jersey AIDS/STD/HIV Hotline, 1-800-624-2377, is available to answer questions concerning HIV/AIDS, STDs or hepatitis. The following services are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week (all calls are free and confidential) Referrals; HIV, STD and Hepatitis Prevention Information; Counseling and Treatment Locations and Treatment Information.
Remember help is just a phone call away!
Alicia Gambino, MA, CHES
New Jersey AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline