Every year we go to the doctor for an annual check up, at least we should. Doctors usually check for our blood pressure, cholesterol, and vital signs. But what if a Human Immunodeficiency Virus test was added as one of the required exams? Would you opt-out?
Two years ago, government urged doctors to add an HIV test to a routine health exam. And it should be. At the end of 2005, the Center of Disease Control reported over 1.1 million people had HIV in the U.S., and 232,000 don’t know it.
This is a time where this society is infested with all types of diseases that our parent’s generation was never even exposed to. But amazingly with statistics like this, HIV tests are not conducted as much as they should. USATODAY reported that out of 5,000 emergency rooms in the U.S. only 100 of them check patients not “terminally ill” for HIV.
It is even more important for the blacks to know their status. Blacks as a whole have a history of health problems. We have a high rate of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. HIV/AIDS is another health risk and should be a reason to bring more of an urgency in the black community.
Although the disease is known for being contracted through sharing needles or medical malpractice, the CDC reported the main way Blacks contract the disease is through sexual activity. But blacks as well as other Americans have an issue with testing. It’s from the desire to stay in the dark about the status of their health or it is simply denial.
This is not only dangerous to yourself, but it’s dangerous to your partners as well. There aren’t any physical characteristics to know if someone has contracted HIV.
As young adults, taking responsibility is important. Deciding to have sex with someone goes hand in hand with getting tested regularly. There are no excuses.
Directions for testing centers are available on www.hivtest.org.
There are seven places within a five-mile radius of Florida A&M University’s campus. Some places offer free testing. And if it’s not free, it will cost less than $20. That is a small price compared to the costly HIV medication.
Young people tend to believe they are invincible and that they can’t get sick. Some live too care free and forget about what’s at stake. Some are afraid to ask their partner whether they have been tested. This not an offensive question. It’s something all sexually active people should do.
World AIDS Day is Dec. 1, and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. It’s time to stop living for the moment, and start living for longevity.
Chantell Black is a senior broadcast journalism student from Brooklyn, NY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org