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Get the Facts On HIV/AIDS and Get Tested
Tomorrow marks the 25th annual World Aids Day, a day that highlights the strides we’ve made in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS but also reminds us how far we have left to go. For the past few years the theme has been "Getting to Zero," as in "zero" new HIV infections this year.
Big names, from President Obama to Alicia Keys, are spreading the word about World Aids Day 2012, but a huge number of young people still don’t know their own HIV status. Even though people ages 13 to 24 make up a quarter of new HIV infections in the U.S. every year, a recent CDC report found more than half of them don’t know if they’re carrying HIV. Greatist is here to help provide some basics on HIV, including how, where, and why to get tested.
What It Is — HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes the gradual deterioration of the immune system, meaning the body can’t fight off diseases. The advanced stages of HIV, when the person contracts an opportunistic infection, are known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The virus can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse; blood transfusions; sharing needles; or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. As of 2009, there were approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, and about 50,000 new Americans become infected every year.
Get Tested — The How, Where, and Why
It’s always possible to take an HIV test, but doctors advise people who engage in certain sexual risk behaviors (such as having unprotected sex) to get tested at least once a year. Anyone who thinks he/she may have been infected with HIV should get tested as soon as possible. An HIV test is pretty simple — it involves either a blood or oral fluid sample. And while there are home testing kits available, most health experts recommend getting tested in an official healthcare setting. Luckily, finding a testing site is pretty easy, and many institutions even offer free testing. Some tests produce results in only 20 minutes, but others take a few days. Depending on the results, healthcare workers provide counseling on the next steps.
Thankfully, first-timers won't have to fly solo, since major organizations have pledged their support or launched campaigns backing World Aids Day 2012. For example, Durex is donating one condom for every social message tagged with #1share1condom, (RED) is hosting a live-streamed dance party, ONE has created a digital wall where users can pledge actions, and the World Aids Campaign is acting as a hub for a slew of relevant initiatives.
If you think you might have been infected with HIV or just want to play it safe, check out this website to find a testing site near you. In the meantime, learn more about HIV and AIDS here and find out how you can join the campaign against HIV and AIDS tomorrow and all year long.
Will a massive event like World Aids Day truly help reach the goal of "Getting to Zero?" Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author at @ShanaDLebowitz.
Comments Leave a comment
Hi Shana, we may not be big names as the fashion/Music industry have instantly become "HIV experts" rather than sick-to-my-stomach air heads. When simple articles like this are written it has laughably made me smarter and wiser the last 9 years. You see I was a patient, I was the good little gay boy who did everything my doctors, nurses,case managers told me and I nearly died because of it.What I didn't know was "the" "truth"! a movement of people around the world who even at the time of my phony diagnosis was dissenting and challenging Robert Gallo's HIV Theories of AIDS, the true informed consent was never given to me, while the ARV death movement nearly took my life.The majority of the world's population are not interested in "the" "truth", the media never questioned Mr Gallo & Miss Heckler on April 23 1984, not one CNN news anchor stood up and said" hey! where is your proof? how do you know that this is "it" that (HIV is the PROBABLE cause of AIDS) and if it's PROBABLE then why are saying it's a fact? yes no one single solitaire media outet said one word to the mad scientist who had been rejected and up for sientific misconduct not once but twice!Today we have antibody tests that prove absolutely zero, Drugs that deform and kill the human body, soul and mind, 2 medical fanatic name-tags that are used as public relations marketing, hyped up ratios and numbers that are computer generated and cooked for monetary gain guised as "the AIDS Fight" and a dissentious movement that are talked down to and denied a voice. Africans and The global LGBT community have adopted the HIV/AID$ name tag via the fear industry, the gay industry and the pharaceutical industry, together they make up the AIDS Industry and "control" everything in the media. Crimes against humanity in 2012,for 30 years innocent people have been murdered by a holocaustal & defintional construct and your article is just the same ol sermon preached to those who aren't aware of the same informed consent that I myself was never given.http://livingwithouthivdrugs.com/tomasb.htmHouse of Numbers is a controversial 2009 documentary film about the alleged human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the medical construct known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) produced and directed by Brent Leung. Leung describes the film as an objective examination of the mainstream idea that HIV(virus) causes AIDS(syndrome) which he interviews so called "HIV Experts" in their own p...rivate settings. In the film, Leung interviews a range of GRID/AIDS denialists from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and greedy Pharma Shills guised as scientists. A group of the the so called scientists interviewed for the film later complained that they had been interviewed under false pretenses, although anyone who views the film will see just how convoluted the HIV Industry's dogma speaks for itself. so What is HIV? What Was GRID? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research establishment to the slums of South Africa, where death and disease are the order of the day. In this up-to-the-minute documentary, he observes that although AIDS has been front-page news for over 28 years, it is barely understood. Despite the great effort, time, and money spent, no cure is in sight. Born in 1980 (on the cusp of the epidemic), Leung reveals a research establishment in disarray, and health policy gone tragically off course. Gaining access to a remarkable array of the most prominent and influential figures in the field -- among them the co-discoverers of HIV, presidential advisors, Nobel laureates, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, as well as survivors and activists -- his restrained approach yields surprising revelations and stunning contradictions. The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players -- in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. If, as South African health advocate Pephsile Maseko remarks, "this is the beginning of a war...a war to reclaim our health," then House of Numbers could well be the opening salvo in the battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic clearly gone awry. House of Numbers "A World Without HIV and AID$ May Be Closer Than You Think" FULL DOCUMENTARY http://youtu.be/50so0nsoB4U HIV: Does the retrovirus exist?http://youtu.be/dLY7lWchHL4 HIV Infection or Weird $cience? http://youtu.be/qMjaFaAk7wc Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ? Why AID$ Is a Phony Medical Construct http://youtu.be/Z65I2G4e-nQ HIV Tests 101 Why No Human Being Should EVER Take Them! http://youtu.be/CzakdIWsSAk http://youtu.be/C-I3naNiUXM House of Numbers on YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/user/houseofnumbers