National HIV Test Day
Every 9 ½ minutes, someone in the United States becomes infected
by HIV. But that’s not the worst, because of all infected people,
only 25% know their status.
About 250,000 people with AIDS still don’t know they’re infected, as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one million people have the disease in the United Sates.
To ensure that people find out soon if they’re infected, the National Association of People with Aids has been promoting a National HIV Test Day since 1995.
Early diagnosis is essential not only to address the appropriate medical treatment, but also to prevent transmission of the disease.
HIV tests typically include a saliva sample, a conventional blood test, and an examination on the same day.
More Diagnosed in Recent Years
Each time, more people are confirmed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, according to records in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which stated that in 2006 there were 56,300 new cases of HIV, while on previous years the amount hadn’t exceeded 40,000 patients.
This doesn’t mean that there are more people infected, but there are more people who are diagnosed with the disease.
Most people infected with HIV in the United States are young men and African Americans. The epidemic affects disproportionately Hispanics and Latinos who have sex with men. Anyhow, homosexual and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities are the most affected among all American population groups.
A Scourge for Latinos
The Hispanic community is one of the most affected minorities in the United States, representing 19% of all new cases in 2007. According to the CDC, the rate of new diagnoses among Hispanics and Latino men is three times that of white men. The rate among Hispanic or Latino women is five times higher than in white women.
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What Can Be Done
• Only have sex with one person. Before, make sure none of you is infected with HIV.
• If you are infected, wear a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and possible infections by different strains of HIV.
• If only one person of the couple has HIV, use lubricated latex condoms every time you have sex.
• If you have more than one sexual partner, get an HIV test.
• If you’re a man and have sex with other men, get the test at least once a year.
• If you’re a pregnant woman or plan to become pregnant, get tested as soon as possible, before your baby is born.
• If you’ve had other sexually transmitted diseases, like gonorrhea, syphilis, or Chlamydia trachomatis, look for treatment. These diseases may increase the risk of contracting HIV.
• Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
• Each time you undertake a general health check, get an HIV test, even when you think you have no chance of contracting it.
• Don’t use illegal drugs. HIV is transmitted through needles, syringes, and other utensils that are contaminated with infected blood.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and www.napwa.org
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