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AIDS/HIV
 

World AIDS Day

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CDC Facts and Figures: AIDS/HIV Epidemic

 

At the end of 2003, an estimated 1,039,000 to 1,185,000 persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS.  In 2003, 32,048 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported from the 33 areas (32 states and the US Virgin Islands) with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.  When all 50 states are considered, CDC estimates that approximately 40,000 persons become infected with HIV each year.

 

 

In 2003, men who have sex with men (MSM) represented the largest proportion of HIV/AIDS diagnoses, followed by adults and adolescents infected through heterosexual contact.  In 2003, almost three quarters of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were made for male adolescents and adults.

 

Persons of minority races and ethnicities are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2003, African Americans, who make up approximately 12% of the US population, accounted for half of the HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed.

 

During the mid-to-late 1990s, advances in treatment slowed the progression of HIV infection to AIDS and led to dramatic decreases in AIDS deaths. Although the decrease in AIDS deaths continues (3% decrease from 1999 through 2003), the number of AIDS diagnoses increased an estimated 4% during that period.

 

Better treatments have also led to an increasing number of persons in the United States who are living with AIDS. From the end of 1999 through the end of 2003, the number of persons in the United States who were living with AIDS increased from 311,205 to 405,926—an increase of 30%.

 

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Basic Info: AIDS/HIV Facts

 

Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome, more commonly known as HIV, is a virus that, if left untreated, slowly damages the body's immune system. Without a strong, healthy immune system, the body becomes susceptible to many infections and illnesses. If a person living with HIV becomes sick with one of the more serious types of these infections, they are said to have Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV or AIDS, people are living long productive lives, thanks to HIV medicines and aggressive treatment programs.

 

 

How HIV is Transmitted:

 

Contrary to public perception, you can't get HIV infected by drinking from a water fountain, sitting on a toilet seat, hugging or touching an HIV infected person, or by eating off plates and utensils.

 

The following are ways HIV can be transmitted from one person to another:

 

--By way of bodily fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions) during sexual contact. Saliva is not considered a transmission route for HIV.

 

--By sharing needles to inject drugs. Infected blood can be exchanged between the parties who are using the same needle and syringe.

 

--By accidental needle sticks (needles contaminated with HIV infected blood). 

 

--Through the transfusion of infected blood or blood products (because of new and improved blood screening tools, this has rarely occurred since 1992).

 

--HIV infected woman can pass HIV to their babies while pregnant, during delivery, or when breast feeding.

 

 

HIV Signs and Symptoms:

 

Often people who are HIV infected have few or no symptoms. Other times, symptoms of HIV are confused with other illnesses such as the flu. If a person were to have symptoms they would include:

 

--Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin or under the arms

--Diarrhea 

--Unexplained weight loss

--Fatigue 

--Fever, chills or sweats (especially at night)

--Visual changes

--Frequent pneumonias or shortness of breath

--Rash 

--Flu-like symptoms

 

 

How to Prevent HIV Infection:

 

--Speak openly with partners about safer sex techniques and HIV status. 

 

--If you don't know your status, get an HIV test to protect yourself and others. 

 

--Get tested with your partner as a way of saying "you care and want both of you to stay healthy."

 

--Use a latex condom with each oral, anal or vaginal sexual encounter. Those with latex allergies should use latex-free condoms.

 

--Do not share needles or syringes if you inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, seek professional help to kick your habit.

 

--HIV infected pregnant women should get into regular prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care.

 

--HIV infected women should not breast feed.

 

[Source:  Mark Cichocki]

 

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AIDS United

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SIECUS: PREP Education

 

Coping With AIDS/HIV

 

This article is intended for a person diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, or those who have a friend/partner with HIV/AIDS.

 

The Center for Disease Control estimates that currently 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. New infections continue at a high level, with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year.

 

In this article we will discuss taking control of life.  If you, or your friend/partner, has begun to learn to live with HIV, then you may have realized that in spite of an inescapable infection and the inevitable accompanying emotions, you’re in charge.  Three ways you can help yourself or your friend/partner begin taking control of life include dividing and conquering, positive denial, and maintaining equilibrium.

 

 

Dividing and Conquering

 

First, let’s discuss dividing and conquering.  Dan, age 27, had stated, “My life is over. Having HIV is just too much for me to handle.”  However, Dan began to cut his overwhelming and insoluble problems into manageable, solvable parts by dividing and conquering.  There are steps you can take to divide and conquer.  First, Dan had divided his problems into those that had solutions and those that did not.  Next, he focused on the problems that had solutions and accepted those that did not.

 

For example, Dan had been worrying about how his family would deal with his death.  But, there is no way to solve the problem that your death will cause problems for your family.  Perhaps you can solve some of the problems actually caused by your death.  Can you think of anything you can do now to make your passing easier? 

 

In addition to dividing problems into those which have solutions and those that do not have solutions, and focusing on the problems with solutions and accepting those that do not, the third step to dividing and conquering is for you or your friend/partner to begin to implement solutions.  Dan acknowledged this and stated, “You know, I’m a real junk collector.  I should probably get rid of all the stuff that I have so my family doesn’t have to deal with it when I’m gone.” 

 

Another HIV victim, Stephanie, viewed the divide and conquer technique as a way to escape the ‘big picture.’  Stephanie, age 33, stated, “I just solve little problems, one at a time.  You’d be surprised, but they add up.  So I’ve just focused on making each day better, and, before you know it, I had a few good years.” 

 

 

Positive Denial

 

Second, let’s examine positive denial. Aaron’s HIV had progressed rapidly due to genital herpes.  At first, Aaron stated, “That sounds like an oxymoron, like you want me to avoid facing the facts,” regarding positive denial. However, whether denial is positive or negative depends on what you are denying.  Denial is negative if you deny your infection and live inappropriately by putting yourself or others at greater risk.  Denial that admits both the realities of today and the unpredictability of tomorrow can be positive.

 

For example, if you are preoccupied with uncertainty about the future or death, but need a new car, you can use positive denial to deny doubt regarding the future and perhaps purchase a new car on a finance plan.  Aaron later stated, “You really do have to deny some of this stuff.  It still makes me sad to think about death, but death hasn’t happened yet, so I need to live while I can.”

 

 

Maintaining Equilibrium

 

In addition to dividing and conquering and positive denial, a third way you might begin taking control of your life is by maintaining equilibrium. As you know, living with an HIV infection requires balancing hope and uncertainty. Robert stated, “The balance is tricky. I think the best way to manage it is to reduce stress.” 

 

Dan, who divided and conquered the problem of how his death would affect his family, stated, “The best way to maintain equilibrium is to adhere to the medication.”  Dan had used a simple five step technique to assess his ability to adhere to medication treatment before beginning.  Dan stated, “First, I got a thirty day supply of once-a-day vitamins.  Then, I marked my start date and, thirty days later, my end date on a calendar.  I decided it might help, so I also wrote the beginning and end dates on the vitamin bottle.”  

 

Dan then began taking the vitamins once a day.  After thirty days, Dan reached his end date and checked the bottle to see how many vitamins were left over.  Dan evaluated himself on his adherence using a percentage scale.  Dan later stated, “By knowing where I stood on adherence ahead of time, I think I was better prepared when I got going on the real medication.”

 

We have discussed taking control of life.  Three ways you can begin taking control of your life includes dividing and conquering, positive denial, and maintaining equilibrium.  

 

[Source:   Tracy Appleton, LCSW, Director, Continuing Education, Healthcare Training Institute]

 

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AIDS/HIV Info: History and Statistics

 

AIDS was first identified in the US in 1981. The epidemic has now spread to every part of the US and to all sectors of society. It is thought that more than one million people are living with HIV in the US and that more than half a million have died after developing AIDS.

 

American HIV surveillance data are not comprehensive so many statistics must be based on reports of AIDS diagnoses. In interpreting such AIDS statistics, it is important to remember that they do not correspond to new HIV infections. Most people live with HIV for several years before developing AIDS.

 

 

People Living With AIDS

 

At the end of 2004, the CDC estimates that 415,193 people were living with AIDS in the USA.  Of these…

 

--35% were white

--43% were black

--20% were Hispanic

--1% were of other race/ethnicity

 

Of the adults and adolescents with AIDS, 77% were men. Of these men…

 

--58% were men who had sex with men (MSM)

--21% were injection drug users (IDU)

--11% were exposed through heterosexual contact

--8% were both MSM and IDU

 

Of the 93,566 adult and adolescent women with AIDS…

 

--64% were exposed through heterosexual contact

--34% were exposed through injection drug use.

 

An estimated 3,927 children were living with AIDS at the end of 2004, of whom 97% probably acquired the infection from their mothers.

 

People with AIDS are surviving longer and are contributing to a steady increase in the number of people living with AIDS. This trend will continue as long as the number of new diagnoses exceeds the number of people dying each year.

 

 

AIDS Diagnoses and Deaths

 

In June 1981, the first cases of what is now known as AIDS were reported in the USA. During the 1980s, there were rapid increases in the number of AIDS cases and deaths of people with AIDS. Cases peaked with the 1993 expansion of the case definition, and then declined. The most dramatic drops in both cases and deaths began in 1996, with the widespread use of combination antiretroviral therapy.

 

The rate of decrease in AIDS diagnoses slowed in the late 1990s. After reaching a plateau, the number of diagnoses increased slightly each year from 2001 to 2004. There were an estimated 42,514 diagnoses in 2004. In total, an estimated 944,306 people have been diagnosed with AIDS.

 

The number of deaths among people with AIDS remained relatively stable in the period 1999-2003, before dropping slightly to an estimated 15,798 deaths in 2004. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 529,113 people with AIDS have died in the US.

 

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Who is affected by AIDS?

 

During the 1990s, the epidemic shifted steadily toward a growing proportion of AIDS cases among black people and Hispanics and in women, and toward a decreasing proportion in MSM, although this group remains the largest single exposure group. Black people and Hispanics have been disproportionately affected since the early years of the epidemic. In absolute numbers, blacks have outnumbered whites in new AIDS diagnoses and deaths since 1996, and in the number of people living with AIDS since 1998.

 

 

From 2000 to 2004, the estimated number of new AIDS cases increased in all racial/ethnic groups. Over the same period, the estimated number of new AIDS diagnoses increased by 10% among women and by 7% among men. The number of new cases probably due to heterosexual contact grew by 20%, and the number probably due to sex between men grew by 15%, but the number among injecting drug users fell by 12%.

 

During 2004 there were an estimated 48 pediatric AIDS diagnoses, compared to 190 in 1999 and 823 in 1994. The decline in pediatric AIDS incidence is associated with more HIV testing of pregnant women and the use of zidovudine (AZT) by HIV-infected pregnant women and their newborn infants.

 

The age group 35-44 years accounted for 39% of all AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004. Nearly three-quarters of all people who have died with AIDS did not live to the age of 45.

 

[Source: Avert]

 

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World AIDS Day

 

AIDS Education

 

On December 1, World AIDS Day 2005, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) reaffirms our commitment to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic both in the U.S. and worldwide. In observance of this year's theme, Stop AIDS - Keep the Promise, SIECUS will continue to promote the importance of comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education as the mainstay in HIV prevention.

 

 

 

"To keep the promise of a world free of AIDS, both here in the U.S. and worldwide, we must recognize young people's right to healthy sexuality. This includes the right to comprehensive sexuality information and education," said Joseph DiNorcia, Jr., president and CEO of SIECUS.

 

"HIV prevention does not exist in a vacuum, and young people require a wide range of services and support. Without honest and complete education, other interventions to keep our youth HIV-free are meaningless," DiNorcia continued.

 

This generation of young people has not known a world without AIDS. For too many young people, AIDS is not an abstraction-it has touched their lives. Often AIDS has taken a gruesome toll on their communities and families, and many young people, especially in the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, are coming of age as HIV-positive people. Young people ages 15-24 account for half of all the new cases of HIV worldwide. Every minute, five young people worldwide become infected with HIV. This figure represents over 7,000 young people each day. Yet only 20% of people worldwide who need prevention services have access to them.

 

 

 

"Young people can and must be part of solving the HIV/AIDS crisis. Providing them with accurate and complete information about their sexual health not only serves to protect their health and safety, but also creates the next generation of informed educators and community leaders," said DiNorcia.

 

U.S. support for global HIV-prevention programs, however, seems geared to keeping young people in the dark rather than empowering them to make informed choices about relationships, sex, and their futures. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the guiding policy for global HIV/AIDS funding, offers no policy support or funding for comprehensive HIV-prevention programs. Instead, PEPFAR will provide not less than $133 million annually to abstinence-until-marriage programs in each of 15 "focus countries" in Africa and the Caribbean, as well as Vietnam , totaling at least $665 million over five years. Research on the effectiveness of such programs in the U.S. has been inconclusive at best and at worst has shown potential harm to the sexual health of young people.

 

"While the commitment of the United States government in stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS is laudable, the great potential of this initiative is being lost because the politics and ideology of the Bush Administration are trumping public health needs," said DiNorcia. "We cannot keep young people in the dark if we expect to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in any meaningful way," DiNorcia continued.

 

[Source: SIECUS]

 

 

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