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Silence = Death: Ending the Silence on HIV and AIDS by Maya Solomon

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDCmore than 30,000  new cases of HIV

and AIDS are reported annually in the United States. Our country spends more than a billion dollars annually on HIV and AIDS prevention campaigns, and yet there seems to
be a deaf ear, especially in the African American community, about HIV and AIDS. Are we ignoring the HIV/AIDS education? Or do we think we are invincible and it could never happen to us? In the African American community,why do we talk about so many other things, and yet choose silence about this deadly disease.

At the end of 2006, there were 
more than one million adults and adolescents living with HIV, of which almost half (49% l were African American.In 2007, the rates among African American decreased but were still higher than any other ethnic group.The rate of AIDS di­agnosis in the African American community is ten times higher than whites and three times higher than Hispanics. The rate of AIDS diagnosis for African American women is 22 times higher than white women.The rate of AIDS diagnosis for African American men is eight times higher than white men. 

So why are the African American statistics much higher than any other ethnic group? According to the CDC, one of the factors contributing to the alarming numbers is "stigma." Any behavior deemed deviant has been stigma• tized. Many people who are at risk of HIV fear stigma-a mark of disgrace-more than knowing their status; they choose to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing.

It's time to end the silence! Let's talk about the 
disease... how it's contracted,how to prevent it, and how to treat it.For additional information on AIDS and HIV,visit cdc.gov, AIDS.gov, globalhealthreporting.org, or visit your family physician.

Need to Know...
1) Adolescents represent one of the fastest growing risk for HIV in the U.S., with approximately 50% of new HIV infections occurring in people younger than 23 years of age.

2) Hispanics/Latinos account for 17% of new cases annually. 


3) Men sleeping with men (MSM) account for 2% of the However, MSM have an HIV diagnosis than 44 times that of other men, and more than 40 times that of women.

4) MSM is the only group with increasing numbers of new infections each year. Among females, most diagnoses were for those exposed through high-risk heterosexual contact.

5) HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluid or breast  milk from an HIV-positive person  enters the body of an HIV­ negative person.

6) The best way to avoid HIV infection is to avoid behaviors that would involve exposure to infected body fluids, including unprotected sexual inter­ course or sharing needles to inject drugs.


Tell us what's on your Heart.  
Remember, it is your testimony that helps others overcome the enemy.  What you share has the potential to not only impact someone's life, but their eternity. 


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