Considering all of the new information we've learned and education we've received concerning HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, one would think that we'd have a grasp on disease control and the prevention of its spread.  However, that's simply not the case. Unfortunately, the rate of HIV infection is on the rise, especially in the African American community.

Among the highest rates of increase are African American males, who are 11 times more likely to become infected than their counterparts, and African American women, who are nine times more likely to become infected than any other women.

While sex and drug use are often considered the primary sources of infection, representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health and Start Talking Alabama shared information with our listeners, indicating other numerous ways of spreading infection including poorly sanitized grooming tools in barbershops and even nail salons, though these are highly unlikely. (Still a scary thought though, right?)

While there is no absolute way to be sure one is never infected with HIV, there are multiple steps that can be taken to work against its spread.  The first of which is knowing your status.

Being aware of your status equips the individual with knowledge that may be needed to inform past, current, and future partners.  It also provides the opportunity for those in at-risk populations and activities to take advantage of anti-viral medications which significantly decrease the likelihood of infection. In addition, it gives infected persons the opportunity to manage the ailment so they may live healthy, productive lives.

If you don't know your status and haven't tested recently, let today be the one where you make the decision to be tested.

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