Do You Know Your Status?

AIDS Awareness ribbon

I am HIV-negative.  I know this because I get tested every year with no exceptions.  So, do you know your status?

Get 

Tested

It’s been 30 years since the first AIDS case was identified.  There are 34 million people on this planet with HIV/AIDS, 2 million die each year.  There is no cure.  I blogged about it a few of months ago along with the basics – what is HIV/AIDS anyway?

Get 

Tested

Tomorrow – even today and maybe the day after – there will be much said about HIV/AIDS education and awareness – December 1 is World AIDS Day, the 23rd such day.  The little red ribbon is about awareness.  But remember that you should be aware and careful whenever necessary and possible — not just today, tomorrow, or the day after but always.  If you’re living in the Caribbean, know that you live in the region of the world with the second highest HIV infection rate…second only to sub-Saharan Africa.  The Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS – Live Up has a great website with information on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, including island-specific resources (click here for those resources).  If you’re a black American living in America, know that the infection rate in the United States is highest among your population.  Check out Planned Parenthood or the National HIV and STD Testing Resource to get information + find a testing center near you.  Whether you’re gay or straight you can get HIV/AIDS.  If you’re having unprotected or high-risk sex or both, or sharing needles, know that you are at risk for contracting HIV.

Get 

Tested

You cannot tell that someone is HIV-positive or has AIDS by looking.  ««This is said often yet it merits repeating…some people just don’t get it.

Get 

Tested

If you’re thinking of sleeping with someone ask about their sexual history — no, not how many people he or she has slept with, but whether they had or have any STIs or STDs, when was their last check up, do they practice safe sex.  Use a condom.  Even in monogamous relationships it is possible to contract HIV, which can develop into AIDS.  How?  Because while you may be faithful, your partner may not be.  Get tested together.  Yes, both of you get tested.  The other day I saw on twitter timeline someone expressing sadness (maybe even disbelief) about a friend’s situation: friend had apparently been with her boyfriend since early teens and found out more than a decade later that she is HIV-positive.  That is beyond sad…it is angering…it is shocking.  Take control of your health.  Don’t gamble with your life.  Especially you ladies: do not gamble.

Get 

Tested

Testing is easy.  You will likely only need to provide a saliva sample…a quick swab of your inner cheek.  It is quick.  It is confidential.  Someone who discloses your HIV status (or other medical information) can likely be criminally charged.  Don’t be deterred by shame…it’s more important to know about your health.

Get 

Tested

A sign in a village...they say it's somewhere in Africa but it applies everywhere...

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Comments
2 Responses to “Do You Know Your Status?”
  1. Excellent blog, CCJ. You put it all very well. All the relevant points are in there. I am going to get tested tomorrow, World AIDS Day, at a special event hosted by the Ambassador (who was very involved in AIDS programs in Africa, it’s dear to her heart). I did the Grata Foundation’s first Red Ribbon Run from King’s House on Sunday – a great event – and will go to the annual candlelight vigil at Jamaica AIDS Support. THANKS for raising awareness. Happy World AIDS Day! Getting tested will get us “down to zero”…

  2. Ms. Nikks says:

    Wonderful message and thank you for spreading the word!

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