Now is the Time For All to be Tested to Halt Spread of HIV/AIDS

By Jesse
Brooks

A large crowd turned up to walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland during the East Bay AIDS Walk on Saturday. PHOTOS BY GENE HAZZARD

June 27th is “National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), with the theme “Take the Test, Take Control,” is coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), to encourage people of all ages to take an HIV test.
An early diagnosis can help those infected to receive life-saving treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed AIDS.
It is estimated that the majority of new infections are transmitted by those who are unaware of their infection. Lorenzo Hinojosa, HIV Program Manager at The Department of Public Health, Alameda County’s Office of AIDS says, “Part of prevention today is testing folks and keeping them in care. We must have durable care in place to help individuals with their maintenance that is required to keep their viral load down, lowering the ability to infect others”.
Studies show that keeping viral load levels as low as possible for as long as possible decreases the disease and prolongs life.
Viral load is a clinical term for the amount of HIV in one’s body. The goal of HIV treatment is to reduce the virus low enough where they consider the virus undetectable.
Nearly 6,000 people in Alameda County are living with HIV, another 6,000 are estimated to be infected, but only half are aware of their status
African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they represent 50 percent of the current HIV and AIDS cases. AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women aged 25-34 years, and it’s estimated that up to 46 percent of Black gay men may already be HIV positive, and according to the CDC, there are over 260,000 people in the U.S. infected with HIV who don’t know they are infected.
Studies have shown that people who discover they are infected will try to avoid infecting others, which explains why the CDC recommends that those between 13 and 64, who are sexually active, be tested.
On June 27, from 8pm to 1pm, a free event will be held at Q’s Lounge at Everett and Jones BBQ restaurant, 435 2nd St., Oakland. The tests are sponsored by HIV, Education, Prevention Project of Alameda County (HEPPAC.
For information visit: http://www.outofthecloset.org/hivtesting.html  or http://getscreenedoakland.org/testing.html or
Call 510-628-0949. To contact Jesse Brooks, call 510-575-8245 or mrjessebrooksii@gmail.com.