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The HIV virus can exist within someone with total unawareness. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately one-third of all transmissions comes from people who are unaware that they have this virus. On June 27, for the last twenty years, the annual National HIV Testing Day has been held. Information released stated that 14 percent of 1.2 million people are living with the virus but have no knowledge that they are carrying the disease. This equates to one in eight people lacking this personal information about their status. The report from the CDC released this information for the first time noting the prevalence of this infection diagnosed and undiagnosed across the states.
A goal of 90 percent of the people knowing their status was set by the White House in 2010. A study determined that only New York, Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, and Hawaii reached this goal. There are 23 states and the District of Columbia that have reached an 85 percent level of people knowing their status of this viral infection. Since this infectious disease began spreading about 30 years ago, more than 35 million people have contracted the virus. More than 40 million people have died from the AIDS virus worldwide.
It has been estimated that 50,000 new HIV cases are added every year. Nevertheless, it is possible for people to live normal, healthy lives for several years. The highest risk of this disease is gay and bisexual men. However, anyone who is sexually active should be tested for the virus. Testing for this disease is important as cells may be destroyed and the results would lead to the spread of the autoimmune disorder, AIDS.
Since the HIV virus can exist in total unawareness, researchers from the CDC calculated the number of people unaware of this infectious disease from a National HIV Surveillance System. The report indicated the infection rates ranged from 110 per 100,000 people in Iowa to 3, 936 per 100,000 in the District of Columba. This Surveillance System has the capability of collecting, analyzing, and distributing information relative to new or existing cases of HIV and AIDS as well. The state with the lowest percentage of people aware of being tested positive was Louisana, which stands at 77 percent.
The racial group most affected by HIV is African American compared with other races and ethnicities. Among those within this population, the highest rate of new infections occurs in gay and bisexual men between the ages of 13 and 24. In respect to high-risk populations such as gay men, reports have indicated there is an epidemic on the rise in Asia, North America, and Europe.
An infectious disease specialist from Duke University Medical Center reported that the current medications are safer, more effective, and simpler. At one time, HIV was touted as a gay, white man’s condition. Furthermore, ten to 15 years ago, the treatment involved several pills and the medications had side effects and, as a result, moving toward a healthy lifestyle was difficult. Currently, the cost for lifetime treatment is $ 379,668.
Magic Johnson, a former basketball star, Mykki Blanco, a rapper, and Andrew Sullivan, a political blogger all tested positive. All three of these men have successfully managed this disorder. They have demonstrated that someone with a positive HIV status can live a healthy lifestyle.
The HIV virus can exist with total unawareness due to the reasons people choose to not be tested. Some people do not want the bad news and others do not understand how it is managed. There are people who believe they will be judged because they have contracted the disease or some think they are not at risk. The CDC highly recommends that everyone who is between the ages of 13 and 65 take the time to be screened at least once.
By Marie A. Wakefield
CBS News – Many Americas With HIV Don’t Know They’re Infected
USA Today – CDC Report: 1 in 8 Americans Don’t Know They Have HIV
Center for Disease Control – Whose at Risk for HIV?
Reuters – Global HIV Epidemic Could See Resurgence If the New Infections Rates Continues
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