When learning sentence structure in grade school students learn that a question mark is the proper punctuation used when asking a question. From there, students are taught the proper way to ask questions. However, one important question that is too often not asked is what’s your HIV/AIDS status?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 women and adolescent girls, aged 13 years and older, made up one in four of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States. It is reported that 75% percent of the infections were from sex with men. The remainder of the infections are from intravenous drug use. These alarming statistics suggest that most of these women and adolescent girls engaging in sexual activity did not ask their partners if they’ve been tested for HIV/AIDS.
Some may wonder why women do not ask this serious question, since women are supposedly known to express themselves more freely. However, some women are afraid that their partner will leave them, or even physically abuse them, if they try to talk about condom use, let alone HIV/AIDS. As of 2010, the CDC data reveals that African American and Latino women are the largest group infected with HIV at all stages of the disease than white women. One in 32 black women will be infected with HIV in their lifetime. One in 106 Latino women and one in 526 white women will be infected with HIV.
It is important for women to use protection during sexual intercourse. Studies show that vaginal sex carries a much higher HIV risk for women than for men, and that anal sex has a greater risk for transferring HIV in women than vaginal sex. There are plenty of resources available to help women protect themselves and live a healthy fulfilling life. Condoms are very effective and should be used and worn properly during each sexual encounter. Regular HIV/AIDS testing is another great way to keep yourself safe. Of course, women can choose abstinence to protect themselves, as well as only have one sexual partner. If you are HIV-positive, you should consult with a medical professional as soon as possible. Never be afraid to speak with a doctor when it concerns your health and well-being.
Women must remember, in the heat of the moment, do not forget to ask your partner their “status.” In recognition of National Women and girls HIV/AIDS awareness day this week, women must be aware and know that they have, and deserve, the right to know what they can do to have a safe and healthy lifestyle, while still protecting themselves and their partners.
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