HIV/AIDS


Menstuff® has compiled the following information on HIV: This is the twelfth year of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). Produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), NHTD’s message to “take the test/take control” continues to be relevant for all people at risk of HIV infection. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1,000,000 Americans are living with HIV, including more than 415,000 living with AIDS.1 We continue to focus our efforts on the populations of Americans most at risk of HIV. This campaign kit emphasizes the need for you to identify the target populations you wish to serve and to tailor your NHTD message and activities to encourage them to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. HIV Information Center More than half of all new infections occur among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

World AIDS Day, December 1. On this day in 1996, AIDS Project Los Angeles, a non-profit AIDS service organization, observed World AIDS Day by having parachuters in red outfits sky dive in a red ribbon formation, thereby forming the world's largest red ribbon over southern California. Gay & Lesbian Calendar

Newsbytes - Late news

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Who's at Risk?
Have You Had Your AIDS Test? Why not?
HIV Antibody Testing Options
Types of HIV Antibody Tests
Definitions for Services Provided
You Can't Get AIDS from...
Dispelling HIV Treatment Myths

National HIV Testing Day - June 27
A Manly Aspiration: Avoid AIDS
Global AIDS Initiative
HIV Testing Programs
AIDS sting for All
AIDS Deaths
More women die of AIDS
AIDS and Youth
AIDS and Elders
AIDS and Gender
AIDS and the UN
The Quilt AIDS Memorial
National HIV Testing Resource
www.hivtest.org/subindex.cfm?FuseAction=getLocations
Finding a test site: www.hivtest.org/popups/definitions.html
Related Issues: HIV, Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, AIDS & Elders, AIDS, Bacterial Vaginosis, Blue Balls, Chancroid, Chlamydia, Condoms, Contraception, Crabs, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, Impotency, Nongonococcal Urethritis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Reproduction, STDS, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Yeast Infection
Books
Slide Guides:  
STDS, AIDS
Resources: AIDS & Aging

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome


HIV: a virus to avoid like the plague...

No one goes througyh life without contracting some form of viral infection, even if it's only the flu. In the vast majority of instances, the experience, thoughunpleasant, is neighter incurable nor life-threatening.

Some viruses, however, are not so lightly shrugged off. Heading this list is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - the "bug" that has been identified as causing AIDS.

AIDS is a fatal disease - it kills. AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV. HIV knocks out the body's defneses against diseases - the immune system. Without a healthy immune system, the body is left open to attack by germs.

No cure has yet been found for AIDS, but enough is known about HIV to effectively contain its transmission. Clearly, with the consequences of infection being as severe as they are, every precaustion should be taken.

Laying siege to the body's natural defenses

AIDS is the end result of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Once in the body, the virus may remain inactive for years. Eventually, however, it begins to multiply and invade different groups of cells. When the cells that comprise the immune system come under attack, the body loses its ability to ward off certain infections. It is, i fact, these infections rather than AIDS itself which ultimately prove fatal.

Not a cause for casual concern

Perhaps the only good news about HIV is that it isn't that easily transmitted. Casual activities such as coughing, sneexing, handshaking, or sharing utensils, telephones, or toilet facilities will not result in infection. Nor is there any evidence that mosquitos or other biting insects can spread the virus.

In fact, only four routes of transmission have been documented: intimate sexual contact; exposure to infected blood or other body fluids; and use of contaminated needles.

Lifestyles that put your life on the line

Because of their lifestyles, certain groups of peple are at higher risk of contracting HIB. Foremost among them are:

Relative to these last two groups, it should be noted that the risk of HIB transmission through transfusion of contaminated blood has greatly decreased in the past decade, due to imroved screening of donated blood.

Reducing the risk of infection:

Even persons whose lifestyle heightens the risk of contracting HIV can take positive steps to avoid infection.

If you're at risk, get tested - for everyone's sake

Testing is a painless, inexpensive procedure that any physician can perform for you. Research has shown that early detection and treatment of HIV can delay the occurrence of symptoms.

Meanwhile, if you are HIV-positive, you will want to take steps to avoid infecting those you love.

Editor's Note: If you have had sex with more than two partners in the last two years, we recommend testing. We also recommend testing after six months with a new partner and before beginning sexual activity with a new partner. We also recommend anonymous testing (many county health clinics) since it could be assumed by your health care provider that because you choose to be safe, you are automatically in a high-risk group. The fact is that heterosexual women are the the fastest growing segment of the population, and young women and men.

Medical help to "fight the good fight".

There is no cure for AIDS, but there are medications that ca slow the progression of the disease and prevent the occurrence of some infections. Known as antiretrovirals, these compounds impair the ability of the virus to multiply. They do not, however, restore cells that have already been infected.

The following toll-free AIDs hotlines are maintained 24-hours a day:

US Public Health Service: 800.342.2437
Spanish speaking: 800.344.7332
Hearing impaired: 800.243.7889

For answers to other questions you may have about AIDS or HIV, ask your doctor or our pharmacists. They're a resource you can and should feel free to call upon at any time. Long Version

Medical help to "fight the good fight"

There is no cure for AIDS, but there are medications that ca slow the progression of the disease and prevent the occurrence of some infections. Known as antiretrovirals, these compounds impair the ability of the virus to multiply. They do not, however, restore cells that have already been infected.

For answers to other questions you may have about AIDS or HIV, ask your health care professional or pharmacists. They're a resource you can and should feel free to call upon at any time.

The following toll-free AIDs hotlines are maintained 24-hours a day:

US Public Health Service - 800.342.2437. Spanish speaking: 800.344.7332. Hearing impaired: 800.243.7889

Who's at Risk?


This section discusses each of the most common at-risk populations. Many of the statistics here are found on the Kaiser Family Foundation website (www.kff.org/hivaids ) where you may read many excellent reports and fact sheets about the epidemic. Another useful source on the web is the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov/hiv/dhap.htm ).

African-Americans

African-Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, and this disparity has grown worse over time. While African-Americans represent 12% of the U.S. population, they account for more than half (54%) of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the U.S. In 2001, white women represented 15% of new AIDS cases compared to 34% for African-American women.

The African-American community is diverse, and the epidemic touches many groups within it, including African-American men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, heterosexual men and women, immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and young people of all sexual orientations and risk profiles. There is no single approach which will effectively reach all of these groups; efforts must look at the specific needs of the diverse parts of this population.

Latinos

Latino populations continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. While Latinos represent 14% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 19% of AIDS cases reported in 2001 and 19% of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections each year. In 2001, white women represented 15% of new AIDS cases compared to 23% for Latinas.

Although Latinos are the largest racial/ethnic minority in the country, they are far from a monolithic population. Representing a variety of ethnic, social, economic and cultural backgrounds and including people of all sexual orientations and risk factors, Latino populations include large numbers of both those born in the U.S. - many with family roots going back hundreds of years - as well as immigrants to this country.

Men Who Have Sex With Men

Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for an estimated 42% of all new HIV infections even as the infection rate has declined since the early years of the epidemic. Reports of increased sexual risk-taking among MSM is a growing trend, and MSM are at significantly greater risk of HIV infection than other groups in the U.S. Younger MSM are at particularly high risk, and minority MSM now account for a majority of AIDS cases reported among MSM.

While the public perception of MSM is often that they are “white, middle class, college-educated and urban,” the reality is that MSM include men of all races, ages, linguistic, socio-economic and geographic categories. In particular, African-American MSM constitute an alarmingly and rapidly rising number of new infections. For many MSM, a gay or bisexual identity is an important part of self-identification, while for others it is a question of sexual practice rather than identity.

Women

The impact of AIDS on women is growing rapidly; women accounted for 7% of new AIDS cases in 1986 and 29% in 2004. An estimated 30% of new HIV infections are found in women. Three-quarters of new HIV infections are due to heterosexual sex. Women of color are disproportionately affected, with African-American women accounting for 64% of new AIDS cases reported among women and Latinas accounting for 17%.

The lack of awareness of women’s risk of HIV infection — even among health care providers — all too often means that women are tested and diagnosed later in their infection. Many women are infected by male partners without having any awareness of being at risk of infection and are often unlikely to seek testing until symptoms appear. Many other women are tested during pregnancy, often with limited counseling or information.

Youth

At least half of people becoming infected with HIV infections each year are those under the age of 25. Most young people are infected through sex. Young African-Americans represent 64% of new AIDS cases among 13-19 year olds, and Latinos represent 20% of this age group. Teenage girls account for 54% of new AIDS cases among teenagers.

Youth at risk for HIV include young people of all races/ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and other factors, each with particular cultures, subcultures and special concerns. Large numbers of HIV-positive young people have never been tested and are unaware of their status. While many young people know the basic facts about HIV transmission and prevention, some are unwilling to face their own personal risk or to seek out HIV counseling and testing. Decisions about the scope of sex education are made at a local level, so the level of knowledge about HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections varies greatly from community to community.
Source: www.hivtest.org/press_files/subindex.cfm?FuseAction=spotlight.risk

HIV Antibody Testing Options


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 1,000,000 people in the U.S. are infected with HIV, and approximately 25 percent do not know they are infected and may continue to engage in behavior that could jeopardize their health and the health of others.

Testing Programs: Voluntary counseling, testing, and referral programs (CTR) provide people an opportunity to learn their current HIV status, receive counseling about any behavioral changes needed to avoid infection or infecting others, and receive information and referrals to additional prevention programs, medical care or other services.

Confidential HIV Testing means you give your name when getting tested. Only medical personnel or state health departments have access to the test results. You must provide written permission before this information can be revealed to others.

Anonymous HIV testing means that no name is given to the testing center and only you are aware of the results. Anonymous testing is available in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Test results are given by randomly assigned numbers at the time of testing.

You Can't Get AIDS from...


HIV is hard to get! You cannot get HIV from casual contact with someone with AIDS. This includes touching, hugging, shaking hands, eating food, social (dry) kissing, sneezes or coughs, toilet seats, showers, lockers, towels, swimming pools or hot tubs, drinking fountains, riding a bus, drinking glasses or dishes, sharing books or pencils, donating blood, mosquitoes or other bugs. Remember, HIV is most often spread from person to person just like other sexual infections (herpes, syphyilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.)

National HIV Testing Day - June 27


National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 180,000 to 280,000 people nationwide are HIV-positive but are unaware of their status. HIV counseling and testing enables people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.

Across the country, thousands of HIV counseling and testing sites, state and local health departments, and community-based HIV/AIDS service providers will participate in NHTD events, by holding health fairs, providing community and media outreach, hosting special testing-related events or operating extended hours. Some of these events may be scheduled in the days and weeks surrounding NHTD. A campaign kit for use by these groups has been developed by NAPWA and is available for order or download (7MB PDF). Adobe Reader

NHTD organizers will also reach out to communities at increased risk of HIV infection, including African American and Latino populations, both of which are disproportionately affected with HIV when compared to other demographic groups in the United States. The campaign also highlights this website, which allows users to locate HIV testing sites in their area.

Founded in 1983, NAPWA is the oldest coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and the oldest national AIDS organization. NAPWA advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by HIV/AIDS. HIV-positive people have a unique role to play in HIV prevention and promotion of voluntary HIV counseling and testing. This is the eleventh year of National HIV Testing Day.

Support of some NHTD activities is provided by federal and corporate sponsors. Media that wish to obtain more information on NHTD should contact Frenk Guni, Director for International Affairs and Publications. 240.247.1021 or E-Mail

To learn more about how to participate in NHTD, visit the NAPWA HIV Testing Day website, www.napwa.org/hivtestinfo or E-Mail
Source: www.hivtest.org/press_files/subindex.cfm?FuseAction=Spotlight.main

A Manly Aspiration: Avoid AIDS, Debra Fraser-Howze


"Men Make a Difference" was the theme last year of UNAIDS' World AIDS Day, held every Dec. 1, 2000. But just which men are we talking about?

Our next president is one man who can make an enormous difference in deciding whether we fully fund the global fight against AIDS or simply let the epidemic continue to grow. And the men who lead European and African countries also are critical to funding AIDS programs and fighting the stigma of this disease.

But the ordinary men of America also can play critically important roles in stopping AIDS — if we as a society help them take up the challenge.

To really stop the spread of HIV, we need to re-examine what we think of as manly behavior. Here's one sexual reality that parents don't like to talk about: Men usually decide whether a condom will be used. But we give boys the message that it's manly to take risks. Too often, when those risks involve having unprotected sex — or using drugs — the toll is more HIV infection for men and their partners.

As a society, we place a great burden on men by telling them that it's unmanly to ask for help. Why stop and ask for directions? A real man can find his way on his own! Young men, afraid to ask for help, often decide not to take precautions for fear of looking foolish or insufficient. They would move heaven and earth to protect their mothers or sisters from danger, yet convince themselves that their love is enough protection for their sexual partners. But the statistics clearly show that love offers no protection against AIDS.

The numbers are particularly troubling in our communities of color. One in every 50 African-Americans are infected with HIV. Every hour, another seven Americans are infected, three of them African-American.

Even when men are sick, or might be, they don't ask for help. Men are less likely than women to go to the doctor for an illness, or get checkups to prevent them. Again, this general rule has particular implications for HIV, in which going to get tested can be a first step toward preventing further infections.

It's not helpful, or accurate, to label men as a problem, but it's crucial to recognize they are a key part of the solution. AIDS is one battleground where we need all of the help we can muster — from both sexes.

Debra Fraser-Howze is president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

Global AIDS Initiative


There are over 13,900,000 people internationally who have died of AIDS, Though the US has been deeply affected by this disease, the areas tha thave been hardest hit are in the developing world where approximately 95% of people living with AIDS today live. The effect of AIDS on these countries has been devastating and the virus is being continually spread because of poverty, poor health care and prevention systems, and limited resources. The prevalence of AIDS also affects a country's effort to improve its economy and infrastructure, as the constant concern of losing workers to AIDS instead of retirement greately hampers both productivity and morale.

Another issue that exists is that AIDS is a disease that gargets the younger populatoin. SInce AIDS carries more of a stigma in these developing nations, it is more difficult to implement awareness and prevention programs in these countries. Through a recent focus group study done in Jamaica, researchers concluded that the most effective time to expose young people to prevention programs is before they become sexually active. By doing this, the yave the necessary information before making the decision to engage in sexual activity. Dispelling misconceptions about AIDS is also a key part of prevention plans, as many young people assume that one can "tell just by looking" that someone has AIDS.

Though it may seem that AIDS is "under control" in the US, as the world becomes a smaller place, it is important to remember that AIDS is a global epidemic that affects everyone. Therefore, in response to this epidemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recently begun work on the Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic (LIFE) Global AIDS Inisitative, a collaboration betw4een the Department of Health and Human Services, the US Agency for International Development, and a division of the Department of Defence. The LIFE Initiative features a $100 million increase in US support to help stop the spread of HIV and care for the HIV population in sub-Saharan Africa and India. The initiative also has several goals. They play to decrease HIV infection by 10% among teens and newborns, decrease STD prevalence by 10% and provide uspport for households caring for children with HIV. Specifically, the CDC will be involved in the aspects concerning primary prevention, capacity infrastructure development, and community- and home-based treatment. The CDC plans to implement some successful US models internationally, such as community planning that involves both communities and health departments. With this project, the US Hopes to use its resources to help fight AIDS where it has the greast effect - in the developing nations of our world.

HIV Testing Programs


An HIV testing program will cover:

Usually, at the end of such a the program, you will be offered the opportunity to be tested for HIV

Types of HIV Antibody Tests


There are several HIV antibody tests being used today. All testing options are not available in all areas. Contact your local health department for the tests available in your area.

Standard blood test: This was the first HIV antibody test developed and made available, and is the most widely used. With this test, an initial assay is used (the ELISA) and confirmed using a more specific test (the Western Blot).

Oral mucosal transudate test: This test, an alternative to the standard blood test, uses a specially treated pad placed in a person’s mouth and gently rubbed between the lower cheek and gum. The pad collects an oral fluid called oral mucosal transudate (OMT). This fluid contains HIV antibodies in an HIV- infected person. This test does not test for HIV in saliva. (This gives an initial indication but, if you feel you might be at risk, should be followed up 3 months later to be sure.)

Urine HIV antibody test: The urine HIV-1 testing method is a painless, non-evasive option for getting an HIV antibody test. This test uses the urine EIA (ELISA) and urine Western Blot technique to detect HIV antibodies and is FDA – licensed as an alternative to the blood test system. This test eliminates accidental needle sticks and exposure-related dangers, protecting the patient and healthcare worker.

Rapid HIV antibody tests: Where the standard HIV antibody testing procedure requires up to two weeks for results, the rapid test gives results in 5-60 minutes. For rapid blood testing the fingertip is cleaned with alcohol and pricked with a lancet to get a small drop of blood. The blood is collected with a specimen loop and transferred to a vial, where it is mixed with a developing solution. For oral testing oral fluid specimens are obtained by swabbing gums with test devices and placed in a solution. In as little as 20 minutes, the test device will indicate if HIV-1 antibodies are present in the solution.

Although the results of rapid screenings will be reported in point-of-care settings, as with all screening tests for HIV, if the test gives a reactive test result, that result must be confirmed with an additional specific test.

To determine which type of rapid testing is being performed, call the organization directly.

Home Testing Kit: This do-it-yourself test kit uses the same technology as the standard blood test. Individual blood samples are collected at home and mailed to a laboratory. Test results are provided over the telephone. The serum home testing kit is available at many drug stores. Currently there is only one FDA approved home sample collection kit.

For more information about testing options in your area, contact your local health department or CDC-INFO (formerly the National AIDS Hotline) at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
Source: www.hivtest.org/press_files/subindex.cfm?FuseAction=spotlight.tests

Definitions for Services Provided


HIV Antibody Testing Services This organization provides antibody testing services. These services may be anonymous and/or confidential. The available tests may be blood tests, urine tests, or oral fluid tests. Contact the organization for more information.

Anonymous HIV Antibody Testing Services. These are antibody testing services for which no name is given. Only the person getting tested can reveal his/her results to anyone. Anonymous testing is available in many states and territories, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. State laws are subject to change. Call CDC-INFO (formerly the CDC National AIDS Hotline) at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) for current information.

Confidential HIV Antibody Testing Services. This organization provides confidential antibody testing services and records the person's name with the test result. Records are kept secret from everyone except medical personnel or, in some states, the state health department.

Individuals should ask who will know the results and how the record will be stored. If the HIV antibody test is confidential, a release form can be signed to have the test results sent to the individual's physician. At some centers, however, such as doctor offices or clinics, test results may become part of the individual's medical record and may be seen by health care workers, insurers, or employers.

The individual's status may become known to his/her insurance company if he/she makes a claim for health insurance benefits or applies for life insurance or disability insurance. If any health care provider proposes to test someone for HIV antibodies, the reasons and the potential benefits should be discussed before deciding whether or not to take the test.

Home Testing Kit Distribution. For a fee, these organizations provide home blood collection systems that allow individuals to draw a small amount of blood and mail the sample to a private company for testing. Results are provided by phone.

Consumers are advised to use only kits approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to follow the kit's instructions carefully for accurate results.

Rapid HIV Antibody Testing. Where the standard HIV antibody testing procedure requires up to two weeks for results, the rapid test gives results in 5-60 minutes. For rapid blood testing the fingertip is cleaned with alcohol and pricked with a lancet to get a small drop of blood. The blood is collected with a specimen loop and transferred to a vial, where it is mixed with a developing solution. For oral testing oral fluid specimens are obtained by swabbing gums with test devices and placed in a solution. In as little as 20 minutes, the test device will indicate if HIV-1 antibodies are present in the solution.

Although the results of rapid screenings will be reported in point-of-care settings, as with all screening tests for HIV, if the test gives a reactive test result, that result must be confirmed with an additional specific test.

To determine which type of rapid testing is being performed, call the organization directly.

Oral HIV Antibody Testing. For oral testing oral fluid specimens are obtained by swabbing gums with test devices and placed in a solution. In as little as 20 minutes, the test device will indicate if HIV-1 antibodies are present in the solution.

Note: For further assistance in locating a site, call (800)458-5231

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