National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Feb 2014 04

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness DayComments Off on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Posted In blog,Elan Shoulders,Featured Story

NBHAAD-Card-Front-e1389052363346

Every year, February 7 marks the day for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. What does this mean to you? Did you know that Blacks are only 12% of the population but account for 44% of new HIV infections and 44% of people living with HIV?

If you learned something just now then we are already on the right track with this blog post. The point of having a day specific to Black HIV/AIDS awareness is to educate, encourage testing, increase the number of Blacks getting involved locally, and getting newly diagnosed folks into treatment. These things are important to decrease the burden of HIV on the Black community.

Currently, Black men represent one third of all new HIV infections in the US. Black women account for nearly two thirds of all new infections among women. At this rate, at some point in their lives, approximately 1 in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will 1 in 32 black women.

There are four complex factors that can increase risks for Blacks.

  • The first factor is that there is a high amount of Blacks living with HIV. This is a risk factor because blacks are more likely to have sexual relations with other African Americans who may or may not know their HIV status.
  • Second, there are also high numbers of Blacks with sexually transmitted infections which increases HIV risks.
  • The third risk factor is stigma within the African American community. Due to the stigma, many people, especially those who identify as homosexual, are afraid to seek testing or prevention and treatment services.
  •  The final risk factor is socioeconomic factors. There are higher levels of poverty, racial discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, and higher rates of incarceration in the Black community. In order to get closer to an AIDS-free generation, we have to join forces and commit to protecting ourselves and each other.

In case you need a reminder, here are some ways to protect yourself.

  1. Abstinence: This is a commitment to avoid anal, vaginal, and oral sex
  2. Mutual monogamy: This means you agree to only engaging in sexual activity with one person who has made this same agreement with you.
  3. Reduce the number of sexual partners: it’s still important to get tested!
  4. Condoms: Use a condom correctly and every time!
  5. New, sterile needles: HIV can be transmitted by injecting drugs through needles, syringes and other works if they are contaminated with the blood of someone who is HIV infected. It is vital that individuals who inject drugs use only new, sterile needles, syringes and other works — and never share them.
  6. Put yourself to the test: Get tested and know your status!
  7. Spread the word: share your knowledge about HIV/AIDS with others. Always remember you are your sisters and brothers keeper.
Making the Right Choice
Apr 2014 15

Making the Right ChoiceComments Off on Making the Right Choice

Posted In blog,Elan Shoulders,Featured Story

Black doctor treating patient in hospitalPreparing to receive the results after a HIV or STI test can be nerve wracking. Your mouth is dry and your palms are sweaty but you are glad you were able to work up the confidence to get the tests done. You had been concerned about one slip up without a condom a few weeks ago with a new partner and decided to go to your local clinic.

As the nurse enters the room, your gut tells you the news isn’t good. She lets you know that one of your tests came back positive and that a round of antibiotics should clear it up. Though sad, you are relieved that it is a disease that is curable and vow to yourself that there will be no more slip ups. As you wait on your prescription, other thoughts begin to flood your mind. Where did I get this STI? Should I tell anyone? How would I even start that conversation with previous or current partners?

These thoughts are very common and may be one of the toughest things you’ll have to do. In order to prevent the spread of disease, you have to let other people know that they may have been exposed. On the other hand, feelings of anxiety and embarrassment, and even anger, may make it difficult to speak about the situation.

Thankfully, with technology it has become a tad easier to deliver news that may make you feel uncomfortable. There are now several apps that allow you to let folks know they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection and still remain anonymous. Below are the apps:

Don’t Spread It (email and text-based)
InSPOT (e-card based)
Time2Test.org (ecards)
So They Can Know (email-based)
cheapessaywritingservices.org (email-based)

By no means is revealing something like this easy, but it is the right thing to do.

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