Know the Facts about HIV

By Sherrie Pratt

Red is the color we typically associate with the month of December. It’s also the color of the ribbon representing World AIDS Day on December First. It’s an opportunity to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from an AIDS related illness.

Around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. It’s important to spread this awareness because 13 percent of that population doesn’t even know they have it.

The good news is, HIV has declined, but it’s still prevalent, especially in the gay and bisexual male population. It’s mainly spread by having sex or sharing syringes and other equipment with an infected person.

Getting tested for HIV can make all the difference once diagnosed. Medicine will help get the virus under control and promote longer, healthier lives. It can also prevent the risk of spreading the virus. An individual can best protect themselves by refraining from drug use and by practicing safe sex. There are also pre-exposure medications that are highly effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV.

Central Florida Health Care ARPN, Linda Gellatly, advocates the importance of spreading awareness to stop the spread of HIV and to improve the quality of life to those living with the virus. Offering support to someone with HIV can be very impactful. We as a community still need to learn all the facts about this virus to correct myths and end stereotypes.

Remember, people with HIV can live happy, healthy lives without infecting others through treatment. Supporting a loved-one living with HIV can be empowering by reducing depression and inspiring others.

Reach out to your provider for more information regarding HIV.