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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

World HIV Testing Day



AIDS is a gay disease.  AIDS and HIV is not a gay disease. It effects homosexuals as well and heterosexuals. It does not discriminate. Women, men, professionals, missionaries, across the socio-economic scale and across all ethnicity's...no one is immune to contracting HIV. The Center for Disease Control estimate that men who have sex with men account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the us. This partially due to lack of using condoms as they cannot get pregnant. Twenty-six percent of those living with HIV in the U.S. are women. Among racial and ethnic groups, blacks account for more than 45 percent of new infections each year.

HIV only effects those who use drug.  Again, HIV can effect anyone, not only drugs users.  I went with two of my friends at separate times to find out their HIV status.  Both were virgins and had never used drugs. One was a missionary and had a blood transfusion before they started screening for the virus.  The other was in the health care industry and was stabbed by a needle by someone who was HIV positive.  Both people's status for HIV was negative. 

Most men do become HIV-positive through sexual contact with other men or through injection drug use. However, about 16% of men and 78% of women become HIV-positive through heterosexual contact.

You can get AIDS/HIV from an insect bite.  One of the most prevalent myths about HIV transmission is that mosquitoes or other bloodsucking insects can infect you. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Centers for Disease Control estimates released today, 39.5 percent of American adults age 18 and older have received an HIV test at some point in their lives. That is up from a decade ago -- only 32.1 percent had in 2000 -- but it still falls dramatically short of the CDC's recommendation that everyone between the age of 13 and 64 undergo routine screening for HIV.

Even if I test positive, I can take a pill.  It's no big deal.  To date, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS and there are no vaccines to prevent HIV infection.  Antiretroviral drugs are improving and extending the lives of many people who are HIV-positive. However, many of these drugs are expensive and produce serious side effects. None yet provides a cure. Also, drug-resistant strains of HIV make treatment an increasing challenge. If caught early, treatment only prolongs the person's life span.  Most do not catch HIV early enough to receive treatment for this outcome.

You can get AID/HIV by touching someone who is positive.  You cannot get it by just touching someone.  HIV is transmitted through contact with an HIV-positive person's infected body fluids, such as semen, pre-ejaculate fluid, vaginal fluids, blood, or breast milk. HIV can also be transmitted through needles contaminated with HIV-infected blood, including needles used for injecting drugs, tattooing or body piercing.

HIV is the same as AIDS.  This is false. HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the collection of symptoms, diseases, and infections associated with an acquired deficiency of the immune system. While HIV is the underlying cause of AIDS, not all HIV-positive individuals have AIDS, as HIV can remain in a latent stage for many years. They are not the same thing. AIDS and HIV are related, yet different. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. A person may test positive for the presence of HIV in his or her bloodstream, yet not have AIDS. An HIV-positive individual may be diagnosed with AIDS at some later point in time or not at all.

You have to be promiscuous to have HIV.  Again, anyone can get HIV if they have risky behavior not just promiscuity. In 2008, CDC estimated that approximately 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV in 20061  (the most recent year that data are available). Over half (53%) of these new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men. Black/African American men and women were also strongly affected and were estimated to have an incidence rate than was 7 times as high as the incidence rate among whites.

1Hall HI, Ruiguang S, Rhodes P, et al. Estimation of HIV incidence in the United States. JAMA. 2009;300:520-529.

My partner and I are monogamous, so we are not at risk.  This is a common misconception among many people. In my practice, it's not uncommon for a woman to tell me her boyfriend or fiance assured her he was "clean." It is also not uncommon for the young gay couple to profess to being monogamous, when in fact one partner has strayed from time to time. The fact of the matter is people are sometimes dishonest and reluctant to be forthcoming with their past sexual history.

I can tell if someone has HIV.  You can be HIV-positive and not have any symptoms for up to 10 years.  A person with HIV may not show any symptoms for up to 10 years. Since HIV affects each person differently, many people with HIV can look and feel healthy for years. The only sure way to know is to get tested.

I can get HIV/AIDS by sharing food with someone positive.  You cannot "catch" HIV/AIDS by the following:
  • Breathing the same air as someone who is HIV-positive
  • Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after an HIV-positive person
  • Drinking from a water fountain
  • Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive
  • Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-positive person
  • Using exercise equipment at a gym
You can get it from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or mother's milk.

It is no big deal.  AIDS can be cured.  While many make claims of miraculous cures, the sad truth is there is no cure for HIV and AIDS. Be careful of claims or cures and miracles. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS and there are no vaccines to prevent HIV infection. 


I'm not at risk because I use a condom.  Birth control methods protect against having a child and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, it does not insure that one will not contract AIDS.  However, a condom should be used anyway if one or both are HIV positive.

It is estimated that more than 20 percent of the one million-plus people living with HIV nationally do not even know they have been infected.  People often don't get tested because they didn't want to know. If you catch HIV early enough, you don't have to develop AIDS. Indeed, since the first federal announcement regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 30 years ago, antiretroviral therapy has made it possible to delay progression from HIV infection to AIDS, significantly prolonging patients' lives.

Estimates suggest that one-in-five people living with an HIV infection does not know it. And between 2001 and 2007, one third of people diagnosed with HIV had developed AIDS within the next 12 months -- in spite of the fact that the benefits of testing and early treatment are widely known. Finding out their status so late keeping them from getting key antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible.

Left untreated, most people develop AIDS within 10 years of an HIV infection. Research has also shown that people who are unaware of their infection are three-and-a-half times more likely to transmit HIV.

Conversely, the CDC estimates that a 25-year-old who is diagnosed with HIV after seeking out testing and subsequently receives high-quality care will live 39 additional years.  'People need to know that this is all preventable, and we don't need to see new cases. With diagnosis, it's a treatable disease. No one has to get AIDS. '

GET TESTED FOR HIV

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