Wednesday, June 27th, is National HIV Testing Day.
We always hear that it is imperative we take action and know our statuses when it comes to HIV. But does everyone really listen to this advice?
According to the U.S. Census (census.gov), as of April 1, 2010, Miami-Dade County had an estimated population of 2,498,018. As of July 1, 2017, this number rose to 2,751, 796. According to AidsVu, in 2015, 25,457 people in the county were diagnosed with HIV. 73% of these people living diagnosed with HIV were men, and 27% were women. 43% of people living with HIV were black, 44% Hispanic/Latino, and 11% white.
The number of new HIV diagnoses in Miami-Dade in 2015 was 1,343. 80% of this population were men, and 20% were women. 36% of this population were black, 53% Hispanic/Latino, and 10% white.
In 2015, the number of deaths of people with diagnosed HIV in Miami-Dade was 352. The number of deaths of people with diagnosed HIV in Florida in 2014 was 1,916.
We provide these statistics to show an insight on our local area and to show how many people are affected by something that can be prevented.
But prevention is up to us.
Miami-Dade is just a small portion of Florida, but the numbers provided here are pretty high if you look at them through an immediate lens. In 2014, the number of people in Florida living with diagnosed HIV in 2014 was 103,696. 71% were men, and 29% were women. 47% were black, 22% Hispanic/Latino, and 29% white.
Imagine if these numbers were 0.
According to the CDC, about 850,000 to 950,000 individuals in the U.S. are living with HIV, and about 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year. One in four individuals living with HIV are unaware of having the virus.
The solution to eliminating the problem all boils down to people knowing their statuses. It’s that simple. If people become aware and know they have HIV, they can reduce or eliminate the likelihood of transmission by taking certain measures and by being safe.
Some places, such as participating Walgreens pharmacies, are even offering free HIV testing on June 27th.
If you don’t know your status, what’s your excuse? Research your local facilities to find which places offer free testing, and take action. As part of our goal at Haynes Harbour, Inc. to alleviate poverty and homelessness, we must acknowledge that problems, such as HIV/AIDS, play a role in who makes up the vulnerable populace. And we must acknowledge what they have to face on a daily basis. If we take certain measures to bring awareness and encourage others to step up and be proactive, we have achieved the first step.
In this case, being proactive is as simple as taking care of yourself and getting tested. HIV doesn’t affect only the ones diagnosed with it, but the effects branch out to others as well.
It all starts with YOU. We are all in this together, so play your part!