HIV/AIDS Is REAL - Get the Facts!

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The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States Is REAL-Get the Facts!

Before we can stop any epidemic, we first have to recognize the magnitude of the disease. HIV is still a threat across the United States. And even though there are treatments to help people with HIV live longer than ever before, AIDS is still a significant health issue. Surprised? Get the facts:

  • Every 9½ minutes (on average), someone in the United States is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • In 2006, an estimated 56,300 people became infected with HIV.
  • More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.
  • Of those 1 million people living with HIV, 1 out of 5 do not know they are infected. (People who have HIV but don't know it can unknowingly pass the virus to their partners.)
  • Despite new therapies, people with HIV still develop AIDS.
  • Over 1 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with AIDS.
  • More than 14,000 people with AIDS still die each year in the United States.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic isn't just happening in faraway places.

People here in the United States become infected with HIV far too often-on average, every 9½ minutes. And it changes not only the lives of those who become infected, but also the lives of their families and friends.

Even though the epidemic is different in every city and every state, some groups of people are harder hit by HIV than others. In the United States, gay and bisexual men of all races bear the greatest burden. Black men and women and Hispanic men also have very high rates of HIV compared with other racial or ethnic groups.

It is important for people to understand that race, by itself, is not a risk factor for HIV infection. Poverty, homelessness, lack of access to health care, incarceration rates, drug use, and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can all increase rates of HIV.

You Can Prevent HIV

Although HIV infection is completely preventable, every 9½ minutes, someone in the United States is infected with the virus. That person could be you-or someone you know-your brother, sister, father, mother, friend, co-worker, or neighbor. It is important for everyone to get the facts, talk about HIV/AIDS with partners and loved ones, reduce risk behaviors, and get tested to learn their HIV status.

It's not always easy, but we all must be willing to talk about sex. To protect yourself, you need to understand how a person gets HIV or passes it to someone else. HIV can be passed on when blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, or breast milk from a person who has HIV enters the body of a person who does not have HIV.

Three critical ways of reducing your risk of getting HIV.

  • Don't have sex at all (anal, vaginal, and oral sex).
  • Only have sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) if you are in a mutually monogamous relationship and you have both tested negative for HIV.
  • Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

If you need help gaining the skills to protect yourself from HIV or if you would like to know what other people just like you are doing to protect themselves, you may want to contact a local HIV Prevention organization. Search the CDC National Prevention Information Network organization database, or call 1-800-458-5231 and a health information specialist will help you locate an organization in your community.

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