It is such a frightening topic to read about. Some mistakenly believe that the danger has been subdued. One could possibly go an entire week without hearing it mentioned on the news. Even so, in America, it is the 5th leading cause of death for women between the ages of 19-39. For black women, it is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 25 and 34. Most women are being exposed to the virus by having sex with men who are infected.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) was first reported in 1981. Two years later, scientists were able to find the cause of this disease: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The infection has touched lives in every part of the world. Countries in regions of the world with little resource: Sub-Saharan African, the Caribbean and Asia, have seen millions of their citizens die from this disease. HIV in contracted by contact with infected blood and body fluids. The virus then attacks the immune system, leaving the body unable to defend itself against infections that might otherwise be effectively eliminated.
Recently, there has been a flurry of discussions about the number of single professional black women, of whom, 45% will never marry. With so many women spending an extended amount of time “out there”, I thought it prudent to bring up the topic of safer sex. Nice guys, guys with good hygiene, hard workers, men who love children, professional men and men who always smell nice, can be infected with HIV. While you’re looking for Mr. Right, take steps to protect yourself: use condoms, ask about their sexual history, limit the number of sexual partners and get tested. The very act of getting an HIV test is a reminder to be vigilant about protecting yourself. It’s amazing how many women chose not use condoms based on how they feel instead of acting on facts.
Since the isolation of the virus, scientists have worked hard to discover ways to treat people with HIV/AIDS. There is no cure and a vaccine is far in the horizon. Prevention should be the goal but early discovery of one’s infection, will lend itself to early treatment and to a longer and better quality of life. Women who are HIV positive should take steps to prevent pregnancy or at least seek early prenatal care to reduce the risk of passing the virus to the child. Without treatment, one in every four (25%) of babies born to HIV positive mothers will become HIV positive. With early detection and treatment, the risk of passing the virus to the child can be reduced to less than 2%. Mothers who are HIV positive should not breastfeed.
There it is! Now spread the word.