We have discussed about HIV/AIDS last month and today we are going to talk a little bit more about the disease. The National Latinx AIDS awareness day is organised by the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the Hispanic Federation among others to create awareness, promote HIV testing and provide information about HIV as well as access to its care.
What is AIDS?
It is a late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damage because of the virus. In the US and other developed countries, many people with HIV do not developed AIDS because taking HIV medicine everyday as prescribed stopped the progress of the disease.
An individual with HIV is considered to have progressed to AIDS when they developed one or more opportunistic infections regardless of CD4 count; if the number of CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimetre of blood (200cells/mm3), a person is said to have AIDS or prone to develop it.
Do the risk of HIV infection differ among people?
HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, race, or gender. Nonetheless, certain groups are at higher risk of getting compared to other groups.
Some group of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including the status of their sex partners, their risk behaviour and where they live.
People that live in a community where the prevalence of HIV is high, the chances of having sex or sharing needles or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV is higher. The prevalence of HIV can vary within any community among different population.
In United States, bisexual and gay men have the largest number of new diagnoses of HIV. Black/African America and Hispanic/Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Also transgender women who have sex with men are among the groups with the highest risks of HIV infection, and injection drug users are at significant risks of getting HIV.
Also, having anal and virginal sex without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV, and sharing needles or syringes are among the risky behaviour that promote the transmission of HIV. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behaviour. If you don’t have HIV, being a receptive (bottom) partner for anal sex is the highest-rick sexual activity for getting HIV. If you do have HIV, being the insertive (top) partner for anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for transmitting HIV.
There are many tools that can prevent the spread of HIV today, than there are before. Choosing less risky sexual behaviours, using condoms with lubricants, and taking medicines to prevent and treat HIV are all highly effective methods of reducing the risk of transmitting or getting HIV.
For more information on the prevalence of HIV in the American communities, check the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website.
If you want to know more about the strategies to prevent HIV, check the HIV.gov