AIDS Free Generation

There has been a lot of talk recently about how we can create an HIV/AIDS free generation.  Many of us bloggers, activist, and health care providers would like to see this happen and I believe it can be achieved, but it is going to take a lot of hard work on everyone’s part to make this dream a reality.

us-statistics-2According to the CDC there were 53,200 new HIV infections in 2007; 47,500 in 2008; 45,000 in 2009; and 47,500 in 2010.

In a report released by unaids.org: “Globally, the number of new HIV infections continues to fall. There were 2.3 million new HIV infections in 2012.  This is the lowest number of annual new infections since the mid-to-late 1990’s.”

With today’s new Antiretroviral Drug Treatments, it is making it easier for for a person living with HIV/AIDS to live a normal, long, and healthy life as long as they take their medication and take care of themselves.  But that alone is not going to be enough to end the AIDS Epidemic.  For many they do not even know they are infected with the HIV Virus which means they are going untreated and passing on the virus to new sexual partners.

A major set back that we are facing is the stigmas that surrounds getting tested for HIV.  Many people are afraid of others finding out or what others might think, so they go untested and do not know what their status is.  Not knowing one’s own status not only puts themselves at risk, but it also puts every sexual partner that they come into contact with at risk as well.

As a community we need to help people become more aware of HIV testing.  Many cities offer free clinics where you can go and get tested anonymously.  Through knowledge comes power, and knowing your own HIV status gives you the power to help end HIV. This link provides a locator that can help you find a HIV/STI Testing Facility near you: Aids.gov

There is a new push targeted to HIV Negative men who have sex with men called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in which a fixed dose of Truvada® is prescribed to be taken once a day to help reduce the risk of HIV exposure.  It should be noted that this is not a 100% guarantee that if you are exposed to HIV that you will not contract the virus but it greatly reduces the risk if taken properly.  Also PrEP should still be taken in combination with safer sexual practices such as with the use of condoms.  Never assume that just because your partner tells you that they are negative that they really are, always make sure to protect yourself.  If you would like to read up more of PrEP, here is an open letter created by Josh Robbins from imstilljosh.com   which explains a good bit more about PrEP and how it works.  You will also notice a list of members of the HIV Community who have signed and endorsed this letter.

Lastly, one of the largest factors that we are facing in the fight to create an HIV/AIDS Free Generation is education, or lack there of.  Many of the youth today such as myself do not really remember the AIDS Epidemic of the 1980’s and how the world was torn apart because of it.  To us it was something of the past, something that it could never happen to us (that was my mentality about it anyways).  We need to step up our outreach in schools and in the community, get the up and coming generation to take a stance that HIV will cease to be.

Please get yourself tested, know your status!

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7 comments on “AIDS Free Generation”

  1. Kit says:

    It’s great to get the word out that anonymous testing is still a thing. I know my status! Is there anything you think school or public advertising could have said that would have changed your former outlook of “it can’t happen to me”?

    1. Brian Brian says:

      It is kind of hard for schools to teach what is really needed to be taught due to regulations on all levels of the government that restrict what is allowed to be taught during “sex ed” classes. When teaching students that abstinence is the only “real” way of living, students miss out on so much more that could help them to make better choices in life. Instead the classes should also focus on ways such as PrEP and regular HIV/STI testing. A student is more willing to accept something when they know more about it and by avoiding certain topics all together we are doing nothing but hindering their ability to make better choices about their sexual health and well being.

      1. Kit says:

        That’s a really good point. Especially in the South, where the highest rates of HIV infection and AIDS diagnoses are happening in the US (as I’m sure you know), I see everywhere they STILL only teach abstinence in too many places. I know there’s so much more involved than just this in the South, (particularly the deep south, where I live) but something tells me this correlation with abstinence programs isn’t merely coincidental. Now we just need some education authorities to see your post!

        1. Brian Brian says:

          Yes, here in the south we have some of the highest new HIV infection rates in the country. North Carolina if I am not mistaken is still in the top 10 for new infections. If we can change the way schools teach, then we can start to shape and change the future. Knowledge is power and right now our youth are not being given the power they need in order to help protect them selves and others.

    2. Brian Brian says:

      http://www.thebody.com/content/52165/hivaids-and-young-men-who-have-sex-with-men.html?getPage=2
      Here is a great link about sex education that I found on thebody.com today that discusses exactly what we were talking about last night

  2. Lovinglife says:

    I am not so sure we are pushing for an HIV/AIDS free generation. I thought the push was for an AIDS free generation which is slightly different. Stopping all infections would be impossible but halting the progression of HIV to AIDS is obtainable. PrEP is also targeted heterosexual couples but few are actually talking about it. It is not just for men who have sex with men. I am been living with HIV 29 years, and 20 years with an AIDS diagnosis. We can survive and live wonderful joyous lives. Good luck.

    1. Brian Brian says:

      I understand in part where you are coming from with most of the points you make. I agree that PrEP is targeted to ANYONE who may be at risk of coming into contact with the HIV virus, but I choose to word it that way because so many in the gay community are at risk and need a better understanding that there are options out there. Also the gay community as a whole is not known for always practicing safer sex so that is another reason I choose to word it that way. In truth aren’t we really hoping to one day have an HIV/AIDS free generation? To stop AIDS you must start at the beginning and that would be with the HIV virus it’s self.

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