HIV: Why Take The Risk?

 

We discussed how obvious the “fear factor” isn’t reaching the audience that is most at risk for contracting HIV the virus that leads to AIDS.  Researchers say the most at risk group or our actual target audience is our youth, aged 15-24.

I think the best way to get anybody to relate and feel the fear is by explaining how everyday ordinary people, not only drug addicts and sexual deviants, could in be in the wrong place at the wrong time where HIV infected blood can contaminate a HIV negative individual.  If they realized that’s its contractable in a non-sexual ways then the scope of who is carrying the virus can be broadened.  Many healthy sexually active youth never think that there is any risk where HIV might be involved because they aren’t considering accidental situations other than in sexual ones.  They don’t consider that anybody they know could probably be HIV positive.

But, how is that possible?

Contracting HIV

So, consider another way to contract the HIV virus without using drugs or having sex.  Having an accident where infected blood is transferred to another unassuming victim.  Like for emergency responders or victims at a car accident scene or at work in a health care setting where patients or health care professionals are HIV positive.  Perhaps realizing the other ways in which the need for protecting yourself in your workplace from everyday life can open peoples eyes to other possibilities involving the risk of HIV contamination.  This is why OSHA is so important.

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Workplace Accidents Happen Everyday In Every Field

I mentioned sticking yourself on accident with a possibly infected needle. Once upon a time, I was a caregiver for an HIV positive client and they needed daily shots of insulin to manage their blood sugar.  So, they are getting an insulin shot to manage their blood sugar levels. And a common mistake and what should absolutely not be done by any healthcare professional, but happens all too often, trying to recap the shot and the super sharp needle passes through the side of the cap right into my thumb. My thumb begins to bleed a tiny droplet of blood. My heart stops and and my face is blanketed with terror and shock.

“I thought I was going to die.”

I was very fortunate and did not contract HIV.  I was immediately put on the anti-viral prescription drugs which made me very sick and got tested three times with in a six month period and I still continue to get tested periodically.  At the time I was in a domestic partnership.  So, I respected my partner and waited for my window of impact to be over and then some before resuming our normal sex life.

GLOBAL EPIDEMIC:  According to the World Health Organization 1.2 million people died in 2014 from an AIDS related illness.

“Global situation and trends: Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 71 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 34 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.9 million [34.3–41.4 million] people were living with HIV at the end of 2014. An estimated 0.8% [0.7-0.9%] of adults aged 15–49 years worldwide are living with HIV, although the burden of the epidemic continues to vary considerably between countries and regions. Sub-Saharan Africa remains most severely affected, with nearly 1 in every 20 adults (4.8%) living with HIV and accounting for nearly 70% of the people living with HIV worldwide.Research findings indicate that there is actually a larger population living and surviving with HIV or AIDS today than when is considered to be the massive onslaught of the 1980’s and 90’s AIDS Epidemic where millions have died.”

What do you do next?

Raising awareness hasn’t been proven to help but helping those who know they have have it has proven to help.  Minnesota has over 8 organizations specifically dedicated to HIV/AIDS care, education, and outreach.  Some people ride bikes and try to raise money for organizations that can help the affected and those who are already know their status and care about it get much needed support.
Sign up at Red Ribbon Ride 2016

Club Risky Business

One great communication objective of the One Love movement should be taken quite literally and that is taking into consideration the window of impact.  If you have possibly contracted HIV you may go without symptoms and test negative for a significant window of time where you may have had unprotected sex and transferred the virus.  And if it’s possible that you have done this than it’s possible that someone else that you’ve slept with is also practicing unsafe sex within their window of impact.  So, HIV continues to spread silently and rapidly.  Best possible outcomes for indiscriminate sexual behavior could be limiting your multiple sexual partners you have within the “window of impact” and ultimately reduce the chances that lead you to any risky business.

 

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3 thoughts on “HIV: Why Take The Risk?

  1. Thanks for sharing E! So as you have guessed I care deeply about this issue all over the world having spent 10 years in No CA I have many friends who have lost their battle with this one. I think it’s about finding a new resonate message with this audience. They are young and invincible and the scare story of the 80s won’t work. Maybe we actually have to ask them what will. Maybe we have to create a new media that tells them why it’s important to be informed and make good personal choices. I can’t claim to have all the answers but I can share that I’ve been in a lot of open and honest conversations with folks on this topic and it never ceases to amaze me how little most folks know about contraction and how little they talk about or act on getting tested.

  2. Thank you for posting Elise. I worked in a hospital for years as a front desk and inpatient specialist. The best thing they did for all of the clerical staff was to educate us on all the ways to be safe regarding bodily fluids. However, as you mentioned, accidents happen and the fear can set in pretty quickly. There is still much to be done in the education of the public regarding HIV.

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