Okay I lured you in with the promise of a quiz (it’s at the bottom of the page, I promise!) but please just take a few minutes out of your day to read my blog first.
No matter where you live in the world, no one these days can afford to be ignorant about HIV.
This year the CDC reported that over 1.5 million Americans are infected with HIV, but a quarter of them do not know they are infected.
But the good news is that the tide is turning with the global AIDS epidemic, new reports state that fewer people are becoming HIV infected and fewer people are dying. This news reflects the success of a massive international effort from governments and organizations to educate communities on the prevention of HIV, particularly around adopting safer sexual practices.
However, with 33.4 million people worldwide still living with the virus the challenge of combating HIV is far from over.
HIV is an emotive subject and many people are frightened to talk about it, let alone think about getting themselves tested.
The fact that there is roughly more than 350,000 people in the US who do not even know they are infected with HIV worries me. Not only does this mean they are not getting the treatment they need but it also means they continue to put others at risk. It’s time we started talking more openly about this disease and by doing so tackling the fear.
Many young Red Cross volunteers in the US are well aware that HIV is not just a problem for countries overseas. Many are stepping out and expressing themselves and are using creative ideas to raise awareness about the disease, and fight discrimination and stigma.
I’m sure there’s more we can all do to raise awareness about HIV but for starters how about taking the quiz below? Share it with your friends, put it on Facebook and be honest about how many answers you got correct!
1. Where was the world’s first case of AIDS identified and in what year?
2. What age group is most affected by HIV?
3. What are the three ways HIV can be transmitted?
4. What is the ABC approach to preventing the spread of AIDS?
5. Is there a cure for HIV?
1. The world’s first cases of AIDS were reported in the USA in 1981.
2. 15-49 is the age group most affected by HIV.
3. HIV can be transmitted through: unprotected sex, blood (particularly through transfusions or intravenous drug use) and from mother to baby (via pregnancy, labor or breast milk).
4. The ABC approach to preventing the spread of AIDS stand for: Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom. However it’s a controversial approach.
5. There is no cure yet for HIV, but there are drug treatments (antiretroviral therapy) that have transformed the prognosis of people living with HIV, turning it into a chronic condition that can be managed. However, this of course is dependent on the person living with HIV being able to afford/access the treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition.