Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The AIDS/HIV Pandemic

Not to be Debbie Downer but every now and then I will get serious for about two seconds. There are somethings that cannot and should not be ignored. This is one of them. So take some time to read through this post.

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The AIDS/HIV Pandemic

We are in a pandemic situation with HIV/AIDS! Does that seem scary? It should. A pandemic is a global, destructive disease outbreak that kills millions and millions of people. I am sure you are thinking that this is nothing new but it is because HIV/AIDS started out as a condition affecting only several sectors of our population. Then the disease spread to regions which bumped it up to an epidemic. Now it is global affecting anyone and everyone.

Please believe that the HIV/AIDS does not care where you come from, who you are, what color you are, or what your social status is. The numbers are astounding especially when you do not think of them as statistics but representing real live human beings. In 2005 570,000 children (children) died because of the disease alone.

In the United States, African Americans are leading the way as if this were something to strive for. Black folks account for 47% of the reported cases with Black women taking a major hit. That is almost half of all cases in a place where we (African-Americans) only account for 12% of the population. There is a major problem here.

Promptly after reporting those numbers and that Black women are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than there White counterparts, the reports go on to talk about how “AIDS continues to be a problem with illegal sex workers and injecting drug users. The main route of transmission for women is through heterosexual sex, and the main risk factor for them is non-protection and the undisclosed risky behavior of their sexual partners.”

Maybe it is just me, but isn’t this a back handed way of calling Black women drug infested sluts and that Black men are equally as bad? Something is not right here. Of course there are poverty issues that lead to a lack of education, but something is not right with what we are doing to ourselves. Honestly, I wish I had answers. I know the one thing we should start with is educating our children about sex before they start having it and if that means in middle school (as much as my stomach churns at the idea of kids in middle school doing it) then that’s where we have to start.

I’m guessing that education and doing what you can to put a drop in the bucket that collectively will amount to helping the lives of those affected and those potentially affected which is all of us is a great place to start. Listed below are some information resources.

Get Educated
CDC HIV Information
Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS among African Americans
AIDS & HIV information from the AIDS charity AVERT
AIDS Education Global Information System (AEGIS)
AIDS.ORG: Educating - Raising HIV Awareness - Building Community

Help
Help Stop AIDS - Home
The Stop HIV Site
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