World AIDS Day

Observed annually on December 1, World AIDS Day is a time worldwide to raise awareness and support for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

I don’t want to get preachy or ramble of facts, but I think it is important to continually remind the public of some statistics.  The CDC approximates there are more than 1 million adults and adolescents living with HIV in the US.  This increase in the prevalence is due to the fact persons infected are living longer.  The rate of new infections has remained steady in recent years.  I find this a bit alarming.  It is positive news because if there are more individuals living with HIV, there are more opportunities for infection.  But I would think that with all the public health efforts, more people would use caution.

I also find it concerning about the populations HIV disproportionately effects.  Men that have sex with men (MSM) represent about 2% of the US population, but about 50% of new infections.  Blacks make up about 14% of the US population, but account for about 44% of new infections.  Latinos represent around 16% of the US population (btw wow), and about 20% of new infections.  Also, about 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, and 1 in 4 is 13 to 24 years old.

We have to do better.

And days like World AIDS Day help keep HIV in the forefront.  Help encourage people to get tested.  Help to eliminate stigma for having a positive diagnosis.  Help educate the public on modes of transmission and risk factors.  Help raise money for research.

So know your status, don’t be ashamed to ask someone’s status if you are going to be intimate and protect yourself.

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