HIV and AIDS are real. And I sometimes wonder how seriously people take these diseases. People have died from it, infected others, been in denial, and have behaved recklessly after finding out their status. There are also those who have turned their lives around after finding out that they have been infected. I do wander though why there appear to be so many new cases of HIV/AIDS that are reported each year.
First, let me say that I am NO expert. I’m sharing my opinion based on things that I’ve read and things I see. Second, I’m doing this post to educate my readers (and anyone else that happens upon my blog) about the dangers of not protecting yourself during sexual intercourse, knowing your sexual partner(s) history, and, most importantly, sharing information to where we stand in this fight against this deadly disease. According to an article I read from the AP and Washington Post on HIV/AIDS, the District of Columbia had a 9% increase in the number of residents of HIV/AIDS between 2008 and 2009. An epidemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is defined as severe when the percentage of residents of a specific area with a disease exceeds 1 percent. Currently, 3 percent of DC residents have HIV or AIDS. While I am concerned with other cities around the country, as someone who lives in our nation’s capital, I’m more concerned with DC’s statistics than any other place. If I ever move and am single, heck maybe even if I’m not single, I’ll make sure to read up on my area’s HIV/AIDS statistics. I encourage all of you to do research on your city’s statistics. I personally feel it is up to each of us who have sex know about our partner. And I encourage all of you, BEFORE you have sex with your mate for the first time, to go get tested. And you get tested together. Most women get on birth control to prevent pregnancy and believe that will be sufficient. We must also take it amongst ourselves to make our partners wear condoms. And if he doesn’t want to, tell him YOU don’t want to (have sex). Or you can even wear a female condom. And there’s still a disproportionate percentage of African-Americans in the United States who are infected with HIV and AIDS. (But we can talk about that another day.) Some great resources are the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser State Health Facts, and the White House has implemented a National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
It may seem like I’ve gotten on a soapbox, and maybe I have. I just get really disheartened and saddened when I see these new numbers of people who are infected. But what is it due to? Is it because more people are getting tested or because people are still behaving recklessly when it comes to their sexual, and even drug use, activities? Are people who are engaging in unsafe activities getting tested now and they weren’t before? I encourage you all to comment with your thoughts and to share this conversation with your friends and sexual partners. I truly believe that if you’re not ready to discuss this with your mate then you’re probably not ready to have sex. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.
P.S. I must thank my sorority sister, who works for the CDC, for providing links and other information pertinent to this topic. She works in HIV/AIDS prevention, and whenever I have a question/comment/concern, she’s the person I go to!
I recently wrote a research paper on Black women and the HIV epidemic, and the latest research shows that, at least for Black people, the biggest “cause” of rising HIV/AIDS cases is risky sexual behaviors, e.g., unprotected sex, multiple partners, etc. Unfortunately, the “down-low” has been hyped to the extent that people aren’t thinking about how risky behavior in general makes them vulnerable to the disease.