Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We probably won't get a serious discussion on HIV/AIDS in the media

I hate it for so many reasons when the Centers for Disease Control announces HIV rates. It is a reminder - yes we need the reminder - that AIDS is not anything to play with and we must be diligent. This particular announcement brings that point home:

Of the estimated 12,200 new HIV infections that occurred in 2010 in the 13-to-24 age group, 72 percent were in young men who have sex with men (MSM) and 57 percent occurred in black Americans.
More than half of all youths infected -- 60 percent -- don't even realize they have the disease, the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

"That so many young people become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy," CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, said in a written statement. "All young people can protect their health, avoid contracting and transmitting the virus, and learn their HIV status."

 . . .  Many young people also are not getting tested for HIV, the report found. Only 35 percent of U.S. 18 to 24-year-olds have been tested, and only 22 percent of sexually experienced high school students have taken an HIV test.

The reduced likelihood in youth to get tested may lead to worse treatment once infected: Those with HIV who are younger than 25 are significantly less likely to get and stay in HIV care that controls their virus than older infected adults.

The numbers spotlight how the spread of HIV/AIDS is heavily concentrated in young males who have sex with other males. The remaining quarter of new infections in this age group are from injecting drugs or heterosexual sex.

Overall, new U.S. HIV infections have held steady at around 50,000 annually. There are currently more than 1 million Americans living with HIV.

Religious right groups and spokespeople will be sure to exploit these numbers. And the mainstream media will most likely aid these liars, making sure to invite someone like Tony Perkins or Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council - neither having any medical degrees - to attack the lgbt community for our supposed promiscuity. And of course they will advance the "homosexuality is an unhealthy lifestyle which leads to ruin" lie which they have perfected so well.

And everyone will omit the following detail as they always do when these things come up:

 The CDC said several factors contribute to the disparities in infection rates. Some communities have higher HIV rates to begin with, increasing the chances for infection with each sexual counter. Additionally, socioeconomic factors such as poverty, lack of access to health care, stigma, and discrimination may contribute.

Which means while we will endure all sorts of comments and questions regarding the supposed promiscuity of gays, I sincerely doubt someone will ask a question regarding what needs to be done to combat the socioeconomic factors which lead to high HIV rates.

No one will ask any questions about poverty, how can young gays get access to good health care, and how can young gays receive higher self-esteem so that they are not so desperate to engage in negative behaviors in hopes of feeling better about themselves. Most of all, no one will discuss how can we eliminate the stigma of being gay, which continues affect our lgbt youth.

In other words, there will be no serious discussion as to how we can combat this problem of HIV rates with regards to our children.

Until we start, expect nothing to change.




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