by Michelle George, MSN, RN
On December 1, 2016 wear a red ribbon in support of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day was held for the first time in 1988 to unite people across the globe to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV and to commemorate the people who have died from HIV. There are currently over 34 million people living with HIV in the world, with 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. 1 in 8 persons in the United States are living with HIV and unaware they have it. There are 45,000 persons diagnosed with HIV each year.
Anyone can become infected with HIV and here are some risk factors:
1. Having sex (with or without a condom) with someone who is HIV positive or with a person whose HIV status is unknown.
2. Have you ever injected drugs?
3. Have you ever been diagnosed with a Sexually-Transmitted Infection?
4. Have you ever tested positive for a TB Test?
5. Are you a pregnant or a woman who is planning to get pregnant?
6. Are you a male who has sex with other males?
7. Have you ever been tested for HIV?
8. Have you ever been sexually assaulted?
It is recommended that everyone be tested for HIV. Though there is no cure for HIV there is a treatment called Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). Research shows persons on treatment with HIV can live just as long as someone who is not infected with HIV. Treatment is a way to stay healthy and starting treatment means you are taking care of your health. There is treatment called PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) PrEP is a HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative people take an oral pill once a day before coming into contact with HIV which greatly reduce their risk of HIV infection. PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) is a HIV prevention strategy in which HIV negative people take anti-HIV medications after coming into contact with HIV which greatly reduce their risk of HIV infection. You need to take PEP medicine within 72 hours after HIV exposure (www.cdc.gov prep and pep). Get the answers you need, privately, on your phone www.HIVAnswers.com/app or AIDS.gov or call (800)-CDC-INFO to ask for free testing sites in your area. Contact your Local Health Department. LETS TAKE ACTION TOGETHER.
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