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National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Join us in bringing awareness to HIV/AIDS testing in Caribbean-American communities on June 8, 2017 for National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Held during Caribbean Heritage Month, this day is dedicated empowering Caribbean American communities in preventative health and beyond. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Caribbean region has the highest instances of HIV and AIDS infections outside of the Sub-Saharan Africa. And these statistics reach beyond the region to millions of Caribbean-Americans living in the United States. The National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was established to share information, resources, HIV education, and opportunities to the Caribbean-American community. On June 8, 2017, cities across the United States in partnership with the CDC will lead diverse initiatives and activities to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS along with...

HIV Testing

A Complete Guide to HIV Testing

HIV testing is the cornerstone of the conversation around HIV/Aids. We are huge advocates of getting tested regularly and immediately if you think you may have been exposed to the virus. Here's everything you need to know about HIV testing so you can stay prepared and informed. WHO should get tested for HIV? According to the CDC, it is recommended that anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested in their lifetime. However, if you are a high risk for HIV infection, you should be getting tested annually. People who are high risk include those who have unprotected sex without knowing their partner's HIV status, sharing needles, having an STD, or having intercourse with someone who practices any of the mentioned risk behaviors. Pregnant women, and...

Women and HIV

Women and HIV

We've discussed at length the various symptoms and how HIV affects the lives of those who have become infected with the virus. What we haven't talked about is how women, in particular, are affected by HIV and the unique complications that come along with a diagnosis. Here are a few issues that may affect the health of women in the event of an HIV infection. STI's & STD's  When it comes to women and HIV, there are a few sexually transmitted infections/diseases that affect women who have been diagnosed differently than those who haven't. Those infections and diseases are genital herpes, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease. For each of these infections/diseases, women who have been infected with HIV may take longer to recover, sores make be slower...

HIV Stats

Let’s Talk Numbers: HIV Stats & Data You Should Know

Over the past couple of months we have been sharing all basic information about HIV, prevention, medications, what to do in the event of exposure and much more. Now, we're going to dig a little deeper and take a look at the numbers. Here're the main HIV stats and data that you should know. Although the United States has been making major strides over the years, when it comes to HIV infections, treatments, and quality of life for those who have been infected, it still remains a big medical issue, especially in communities of color. We hear about these things often, but rarely do we get a chance to see the big picture to really understand where we stand when it comes to HIV and AIDS. HIV...

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...

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...

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...