HIV testing should be part of the dialog

National effort encourages knowing your status

Cynthia E. Griffin | 6/26/2014, midnight
Friday is National HIV/AIDS testing day and what better time to quickly review your HIV IQ.
Dr. Rachel

Friday is National HIV/AIDS testing day and what better time to quickly review your HIV IQ.

• If you are an African American, you are more likely to die of HIV than in a drive by shooting.

• An estimated 67 percent of new HIV/AID cases each year are being contracted by African American women.

• The group most at risk for contracting the disease are those under age 24.

• The District of Columbia, Miami, Atlanta and New York have highest number of Blacks infected with HIV/AIDS.

• About 20 percent of people who are infected with the disease do not even know they have it.

• One in 16 Black men and 1 in 32 Black women contract HIV/AIDS each year.

• There is still no cure for the disease.

• The only way you can contract HIV/AIDS is by coming in contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, breast milk or vaginal secretion. You can not get it by kissing or licking someone; or if someone urinates, sweats or poops on you.

• If you have the herpes virus, there is a 10-fold higher risk that you can contract the disease.

• Genital irritation and even a yeast infection can increase the risk of you contracting the disease.

• Young people who have trouble with violence and are not connected to their future are more at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

• It takes only 20 minutes to find out the results of an HIV/AIDS test rather than months.

• It takes three to six months for the virus to be detected in your system.

• The skin in the anus and the vagina tear and cut more easily, consequently those areas more susceptible to the infection.

• A vaginal lubricant can prevent tears, make intercourse easier and reduce the chance of infection.

• A female condom is extremely effective at preventing the spread of HIV.

• People with HIV/AIDS do not always look sick.

This short HIV/AIDS primer is courtesy of Dr. Rachel Ross, co-host of the nationally syndicated show “The Doctors” and a groundbreaking pioneer in the field of frank discussion about relationships, sex, health, abstinence, comprehensive sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention. A graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., she practices medicine in her hometown of Gary, Ind., with her father David, and her brother Nathaniel. Her mother Ruthie is the practice office manager.

Dr. Rachael has worked in HIV/AIDS outreach since she was a teen and realized that the disease would be out of control once it hit the Black community.

“I spent most of my teen years down south (in Nashville) where I saw sexuality and sex were more heightened. And that’s where I saw HIV/AIDS concentrated–on Black college campuses . . . People wear less clothing because of the climate, the temperature, and the raw sexuality is more intense,” explained Dr. Rachael about why she knew the disease would hit the region so hard. “It’s quite easy when you’re wearing a short skirt and no panties to slip away from a party and engage in sex.”