SUBMITTED By BELINDA WILSON, PHN
CHEROKEE COMMUNITY HEALTH
According to the CDC, as cited in the U.S.Preventive Services Task Force paper, approximately 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV. Because the infection does not cause early symptoms, one in five people with HIV are unaware they are spreading the virus. The virus is typically spread through sexual contact, as well as blood transmission.
The Task Force recommends clinicians screen clients between the ages of 15 and 65 at least one time, as well as those with risky behaviors , who should be screened more frequently. Risky behaviors would include using alcohol or drugs during sex, not using a protective barrier during intercourse, frequent casual partnering, use of shared sex toys, sharing needles and those clients with a history of sexually transmitted disease.
The CDC also stated ,”nearly half of the new infections are being transmitted by people who are undiagnosed”. If clinicians can bring the newly diagnosed into care, the rates of HIV transmission will be significantly lowered.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy cites Public Health officials to:
Reduce New HIV infections by:
• Intensify HIV prevention efforts in communities
• Expand targeted efforts to prevent HIV infection .
• Educate all Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it.
• By 2015, lower the annual number of new infections by 25 percent (from 56,300 to 42,225).
• Reduce the HIV transmission rate, which is a measure of annual transmissions in relation to the number of people living with HIV, by 30 percent (from 5 persons infected per 100 people with HIV to 3.5 persons infected per 100 people with HIV).
• By 2015, increase from 79 percent to 90 percent the percentage of people living with HIV with low viral loads.
Join Cherokee Community Health and its many partners in a “2013 HIV National Day of Testing “ at the Island Park on June 27. Info: 554.6882