February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
This years theme is “HIV/AIDS Prevention – A Choice and a Lifestyle”
HIV and Aids affect people of all races, and it is nice to have a day which speaks specifically to and for Black People during African American History month about these diseases.
Dr. Carter G Woodson, son of former slaves and Harvard Graduate created Negro History Week in 1926. It later became Black History month in the 1960s.
On February 2, 2009, President Obama urged educators, businesses and politicians to step up efforts to make black history a celebration for everyone not just by and for blacks. The celebration of this month, African American History month, should help us see the importance of human rights for everyone, all people.
The alarming fact that AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women ages 24 -34, nationwide, is reason enough to have at least one day in the year where we focus on African American women.
Women claim one out of every four new HIV cases and of these new case, two out of three are African American Women. Take a moment and sit with those stats. Then take several moments to develop a game plan of how you personally can become active in changing them.
There are Basic ways, ABCs, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
A. Abstinence, abstaining from sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
B. Be faithful. Having a sexual relationship with only 1 partner who is also faithful.
C. Condoms. Use Male Latex Condoms for all types of sexual contact. If there are allergies to Latex use Polyurethane condoms. There are also *female Condoms for those with partners who don’t or won’t us condoms. “Natural” or “Lambskin” condoms do not protect against HIV
• Don’t share needles. If you get a body piercing or tattoo make sure the needles are sterile.
• Limit your number of sexual partners.
• Don’t use Nonoxynol-9. This spermicide can irritate the vagina making it easier for HIV to enter.
• Don’t douche. Douching removes natural bacteria that helps prevent infection.
• Don’t abuse Alcohol or Drugs. Abuse of both are linked to sexual risk taking.
• Get tested for STIs and STDs. Sexually transmitted infections or diseases, particularly Genital Herpes increases your risk of contracting HIV.
African American history is American history, a history which is still being written. If we follow these simple guidelines, and make effort to do what we can to aid efforts in finding cures, the future history of HIV/AIDS could reflect eradication of the disease.
* Links for info about female Condoms:
Center for Young Women’s Health:
California Department of Public Health http://www.cdph.ca.gov
Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
US Dept of Health and Human Services http://www.womenshealth.gov
President Barack Obama