Thursday, December 1, 2011
Know Your Status HIV Awareness
I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to work, and they were talking about the young woman, Marvelyn Brown who at age 19 was infected with HIV by her boyfriend. Someone she loved and trusted. He knew he was HIV positive, but never told her. Then when he found out she had it he left her like it was her fault. She has since become an advocate for youth especially, encouraging them to get checked and be safe.
HIV/AIDS is very real. Its a growing problem. Even though it doesn't discriminate against age, race, gender or social status; it is a big issue in the African American community. Black men make up 70% of new cases, and black women make up 30%. However 56% of the women that have HIV are African American. Numbers like this mean that you can walk into a bar, line up 15 men, and four of them are HIV positive and two of them might not even know it yet. As a people we need to take better care of each other. If you get tested and find out your positive, let others that you may have infected know. More importantly be safer in the future. Don't be afraid to get tested. Not finding out wont make it go away and wont make it any less real.
People transfer sexually transmitted diseases everyday. The "lucky" people get something that can be cured with a shot of antibiotics. Then there are the not so lucky people who gets something more permanent that they have to live with for the rest of their lives. We can slow down the epidemic we can help stop the spread of these diseases. The first step is to know your status. You have to take the first step to find out what side of the fence your on. The next step once you find out is to protect yourself. Don't take anybody for face value. Unfortunately in this day and age you cant even take people at their word. Encourage your partner to get tested and know their status. If your too scared to find out, use protection. There are more than enough methods available to have sex safely. We all know sex feels good but it doesn't feel good enough to put your life on the line for.
In the event that you do find out that you have a disease that you have to live with for the rest of your life, don't think you have been handed a death sentence. Magic Johnson is proof that times and science have changed. Regular everyday people who don't have millions are living proof. Marvelyn has been living- key word LIVING- with this for ten years. She found out and took action, motivating, encouraging and educating others. She is a living testimony. There is medication, support groups and people who understand your not in this alone.
If you still make the choice to lie down with some one who is not your spouse, or who you know for a fact is disease free, unprotected, I hope its someone that you trust with your life, because every time you do that, your putting your life in their hands. Check out Marva's book The Naked Truth: Young Beautiful and HIV Positive. Know your status, because what you don't know can kill you.