Cyn’s Bargain Pick: Condoms. Yes, the “C” Word

Did you know one in five people in the U.S. living with HIV/AIDS don’t know they are infected?

Did you know African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV?

In 2009, African Americans comprised 14% of the US population BUT accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections.

Why?

Well there are several reasons. The CDC writes, socioeconomic issues associated with poverty, including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education, directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection and affect the health of people living with and at risk for HIV infection. Stigma, fear, discrimination, homophobia, and negative perceptions about HIV testing can also place too many African Americans at higher risk. Many at risk for infection fear stigma more than infection and may choose instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing.

But guess what? We have the power to turn the statistics around. Now, most know about the common risks factors for HIV infection:

  • intravenous drug use with infected needles
  • unproctected sex
  • transmission during pregnancy/birth or breast-feeding

I’ve read about two-thirds of the people with AIDS in the United States got the disease during sexual intercourse with an infected partner. So let’s talk about it.

We know better. This isn’t 1980. HIV/AIDS isn’t new. It’s 2012. The safe sex message has long been preached. So why aren’t we listening? Why are we willing to risk our life, the lives of our loved ones, and future generations for a 30 second orgasm? Why?

Why not get tested…even if you’re married.  Infedility is real.

Why not get tested…and use condoms if you’re single or in a relationship? Condoms go for less than $10 a pack. More importantly, the CDC and FDA both state condoms help prevent the spread of HIV and STD’s. So in addition to being my bargain pick, condoms are also my life pick. We need to choose life.

Back in 2011, I read an article which stated 1 in 30 people will be HIV+ in the future. I was left speechless. I’ve long been intrigued by this disease. I read almost EVERY article on HIV that I come across. I watch every video I find online too. And what I’ve learned most is this disease doesn’t discrimate. Yes, medical advances in HIV/AIDS are allowing infected individuals to live beautifully, long lives. But the virus still creates life-long health, mental, socioeconomic, and relationship struggles. Don’t believe me? Watch these 3 videos.

Renee’s Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7CdQOuc3vQ&feature=related

Donald’s Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjVI8iCoWoY&feature=relmfu

Kamaria’s Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ28d3e3K2k&feature=relmfu

I’ve shared these stories not to scare, but to educate and empower. Medical advances, HIV/AIDS advocates, and media arts have created a platform for education. But education is meant to be used and shared. Education becomes powerful when we place it in action.

July was National HIV Awareness Month. However, awareness shouldn’t stop because it’s August. Let’s consistently talk about HIV/AIDS. Let’s stop engaging in risky behaviors. Let’s get tested. Let’s use condoms.

Peace. Love. Life.

Cyn

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