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HIV infection

The Basics: Understanding HIV

We've been discussing HIV every week here on Black Girl Health and we understand it can be a lot of information to take in. For those who are just beginning to get informed about HIV, here is some basic info to get started. What is HIV? HIV stands for "human immunodeficiency virus". As its name suggests, HIV is technically a virus that leads to an HIV infection. The term HIV itself is often used interchangeably to discuss both the virus and the infection. It is a virus that attacks the body's immune system making it difficult to fight infections and disease. At the worst stage of an HIV infection is AIDS. How is HIV Spread? HIV is spread through bodily fluids. This can include blood, breast milk, semen, and...

Preventive HIV vaccine

What You Should Know About the Preventative HIV Vaccine

Did you know: a way to proactively prevent HIV is with a preventive HIV vaccine? This vaccine is for people who are not infected and who would like to prevent a future infection. Although this preventive HIV vaccine is currently available, there's a few things you should know before deciding if this prevention method is right for you. If you've done any research on HIV prevention, you may have come across the relatively new option of a preventative HIV vaccine. This HIV vaccine works to train a person's immune system to fight the HIV infection in the case of exposure. Like any vaccine, the preventive HIV vaccine comes with a lot of questions. The main one being, can you actually get HIV from taking the vaccine. Currently,...

African Americans

How HIV Affects African Americans

According a CDC report, African Americans that are living with HIV are less likely than their white or Latino counterparts to receive medical care and treatment. Even though HIV diagnoses have been on the decline, this statistic brings to light how far we have to go when it comes to bridging the gap between medical care and HIV in our communities. The fact that HIV diagnosis rates are steadily declining across demographics is a promising sign of progress. In the Black community specifically there has been a 42% decrease in HIV diagnosis amongst African American women since 2005. However, there are still disparities between African Americans and other ethnicities that remain. For starters, even though Black people make up just 12% of the United States population, they...

dry hair

SUFFERING DRY SCALP, DRY HAIR OR BREAKAGE?

Dry scalp, dry hair and hair breakage can be very frustrating  as our hair is ‘our crown and glory’! Does your scalp look dry despite using lots of moisturizers, deep conditioners or hot oil treatments ? This might be why. Most commonly, your scalp may have dandruff or in medical terms, ‘seborrheic dermatis’. Your scalp may not be dry from lack of oil but actually flaking off from overgrowth of yeast with possible itching. The excess hair products can worsen yeast, especially if scalp is not washed regularly. Often, we fear that if we shampoo too much, our hair will get too dry but, scalp is skin that is connected to the back of your neck and face which we wash every day.  So, why do...

Know your Risk Behavior

HIV Exposure: Know Your Risk

Did you know that there are certain behaviors that can put you more at risk of getting HIV? And did you that many of these behaviors are easily controlled by you? The first step in protecting yourself and preventing exposure to HIV is knowledge. Learn about HIV exposure and risk behaviors to know and reduce your risk. The risk of getting of HIV is not one size fits all. Depending on the method of exposure to HIV and the risk behavior that is involved, the risk will vary. For example, there are certain types of HIV exposure that carry a higher risk of transmission than some other kinds of risks. Likewise, there are other types of exposures that carry such a small risk that it's hard...

Prevent HIV

Protect Yourself & Prevent HIV

When it comes to preventing HIV, protecting yourself is key. There are so many tools available that can help you protect yourself from getting HIV as well as protecting others. We're sharing a few simple precautions you can take to lower your risk, protect yourself, and prevent getting HIV Today, we have access to many options and tools to prevent HIV as well as spreading HIV. While, of course, one of the main ways to protect yourself against HIV is abstinence, there are a number of other other tools and lifestyle changes you can make as well. Limit your sexual partners. This simple precaution can greatly reduce the chances of getting HIV as you're reducing your possible chances of exposure. The more sexual partners you have,...

PEP

Everything You Need to Know about PEP

If you think that there is the possibility you’ve been exposed to HIV, the time to act is now! PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication that can be taken within 72 hours after to exposure to prevent HIV infection. If you’ve been exposed, here’s what you should know, and what you should do, as soon as possible to protect yourself. Exposure to HIV is something that can be avoided by taking a number of precautions to protect yourself. That said, there are instances where you may be exposed to HIV for reasons beyond your control. In those emergency cases, there is a medication available that can help to prevent HIV infection. Post-exposure prophylaxis is an emergency treatment that involves taking HIV medication within 72 hours of...

Be Careful with Hair Weaving Glue

Be Careful with Hair Weaving Glues!

Many women enjoy changing their hairstyle up by using a variety of hair weaves. Not only are hair weaves convenient, but they are also a great way to protect hair from the everyday wear and tear! While weaves themselves are generally safe, hair weaving glues (adhesives) can lead to skin irritations and hair loss. You must be careful of how your weave is attached to your skin, scalp or hair to limit the unfortunate side effects. Here's how you can protect yourself when using hair weaving glue.  There are different methods of applying hair weaves. A very common type is the ‘lace front’ style in which the adhesive that is used to secure weave in place can cause more facial/forehead skin reactions. Also, when the glue...

What to Do

What to Do if You’ve Been Exposed to HIV

If you think that you may have been exposed to HIV, it can be a scary time. Your mind races, wanders, and you might feel anxiety or confusion on what to do. This time after exposure is the highest risk of transmitting infection, so you'll need to prepare, plan, and protect yourself. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV here's what you should do. GET TESTED The reality is, that while the HIV virus has many symptoms, you can not rely on symptoms--or lack of symptoms--alone to confirm whether or not you may have the virus. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. The moment you think you may have been exposed to HIV or participated in one of the risk factors,...

Getting Tested

Why Women Should Be Getting Tested for HIV

Fact: 60% of women living with HIV in the United States are African American women. That's a hard statistic to face, but it's essential to understand the extent to which Black women are continually effected by HIV and AIDS. Knowing the numbers is the first step to having an open discussion about what we can do as a community to improve our health and the health of our partners. And we can start by getting tested. For many women, getting tested isn't something that's talked about at length in our communities. There's a lot of misinformation floating around about how to get HIV, how it spreads, and even how to prevent it. Because of this, many women, especially those in committed relationships or those who have been...