National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be recognized on February 7th,2020 and while the height of the AIDS epidemic has passed, it is still an important topic of discussion. As with many health issues, the Black community is disproportionally impacted by HIV/AIDS. Blacks only account for 4% of the population but 14.7% of those living with HIV in Colorado (Source: aidsvu.org). Those are somewhat startling numbers but there is plenty of hopeful news around HIV. Although there is still no cure for HIV, it is completely treatable. The treatment goal for a person living with HIV is to get them to a status of having an undetectable viral load. Achieving that status improves the patient’s health and eliminates the possibility of them passing on the virus. Public health organizations communicate this concept with the campaign “U=U”, “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable”. One of the main objectives of this campaign is to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and lower the fear of getting tested and knowing one’s status.
There is still a big focus on prevention of HIV. The usage of condoms for sexual activity is a primary way to prevent HIV and almost all other Sexually Transmitted Infections. Additionally, there is a medical prevention specifically for HIV called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a pill that can be taken daily to prevent HIV. The state of Colorado offers a financial assistance program specifically for PrEP that can result in a patient receiving PrEP for a lower cost or in some cases, no cost.
You can learn more about HIV in general at the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/index.html. You can learn more specifically about how to get PrEP at https://pleaseprepme.org . Find a place to get a free HIV test here: https://gettested.cdc.gov/ or https://facebook.com/testcolorado.