Did you know that HIV disease is a communicable disease spread through semen, vaginal fluids, blood, and breast milk? It’s spread through shared needles during intravenous drug use. It’s spread through sexual contact when one partner isn’t aware of their positive status. It does not discriminate based on gender, race, culture, age, economic status … it affects everyone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “an estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide … Around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States, and 1 in 8 don’t know it.” There were 1,566 new HIV diagnoses in North Carolina in 2013, and there were 541 deaths due to HIV disease in 2012.
HIV disease is preventable, and it’s treatable – but it’s not curable. Yet. If you have HIV disease, you need to know how to not spread it; if you don’t have HIV disease, you need to know how to NOT get it. If you have young people in your family, love and respect them enough to get past the discomfort of discussing sex, disease prevention and responsibility, and provide straight talk. It’s unrealistic to assume your children are waiting because it’s what Jesus would do, or through the sheer force of YOUR will. Kids are smart nowadays; educate them as to why they should wait until they’re more mature to handle the emotional side of being sexually active, and how to be as safe as possible. Teach them to protect and respect themselves, and in turn to protect and respect their partner. The smart choices need to be present in the quick, stolen moments when intimacy will occur, and your conversations are only a memory.
So know your status; knowledge is power. And wear a condom. Every time. Until the cure …
Learn more about HIV disease
- How Can I Prevent HIV Transmission?
- What is HIV?
- The Body – The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
- AIDSVU – North Carolina
- World Health Organization
- CDC – World AIDS Day 2015
- National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States
HIV Test Locations
“Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
– St. Francis