Black To Life… For A Healthier You
Keeping HIV/AIDS awareness alive
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
March is National Women and Girls HIV/ AIDS Awareness Month, which arrives with a call to action for females to take charge of their health and be aware of their HIV status. This is key: It is estimated that 217,000 women — 80 percent of whom are childbearing age (15 to 44) — are HIV-positive.
This is, and needs to be, an ongoing conversation — especially in the African-American community, which continues to suffer from the highest rates of HIV infection. With new treatments and attitudes, the stigma of being tested for HIV is rapidly falling away. Those who learn they have the virus are living longer and healthier lives by taking their medication, seeing doctors regularly and maintaining a healthy diet.
HIV/AIDS can happen to anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation. You can protect yourself by using a condom correctly every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and avoiding contact with a partner’s blood or other bodily fluids. If you are pregnant and HIV-positive, take your HIV medicine in order to dramatically reduce the risk of passing HIV to your unborn baby child. Women and our teenage girls should receive their yearly OB-GYN check-ups. Remember: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs),such as chlamydia, raise your risk of getting HIV.
About 1 in 4 women postpone medical care because of barriers such as family obligations, depression or threat of a partner’s violence. In 2010, people 55 and older accounted for 20% of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States.
Don’t be afraid to get tested. Under the Affordable Care Act, you may qualify for testing and counseling at no cost. To learn more, visit Healthcare.gov.
If you think you have an STI, see your doctor or call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640 or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st fl oor) in Las Vegas.