Khadijah Forrest, The Black Bear – Feb. 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. According to the official event website, the focus of NBHAAD is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV and AIDS in their local communities.
Every year the Association of Black Collegians teams up with AIDS Project of the Ozarks to bring Missouri State Students free screenings for HIV and AIDS for NBHAAD.
MSU students got their HIV screenings provided by APO in the Plaster Student Union this past Friday.
“It’s good to know your status and just know the different ways to contract the disease not only just from having sex but also needles and other things like that,” said Nicholas Nesbitt, President of ABC.
Blacks are more likely to contract HIV than any other race according to the U.S. statistics on aids.gov. Based on the statistics, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection at some point in their lifetime.
APO specializes in providing HIV and AIDS awareness, onsite rapid testing, office testing, event testing, and counseling to individuals.
“It takes about 40 minutes to go through the process of filling out the assessment, sitting down and allowing us to take two drops of blood for the test and then wait for the test to run,” said Bob Holtkamp, Director of Outreach & Prevention.
After being tested for HIV, the information is confidential and is only shared to the individual getting tested.
Other than, condoms and practicing abstinence, there is a new way to prevent HIV for people at risk.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also called PrEP, is a medicine at risk people can take before and after a possible exposure to the disease. At risk includes sharing needles, if your partner is HIV positive, or having unprotected sex.
According to Holtkamp, “For individuals who live within a community that feel they are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV, it is a pill that one takes and the key is taking the medication daily and if you have put yourself at risk it could reduce acquiring HIV by over 90%.”
To learn more information on HIV and AIDS or to find a local testing center, visit gettested.cdc.gov.
A message from The Black Bear
Producer: Khadijah Forrest
Voice Contributors: Briana Simmons, Evan Hill, and Khadijah Forrest
Total Running Time: 12 seconds
Script: Why should we get tested for HIV? To be aware. To be responsible. To be enlightened. Testing makes us stronger. Take the test. Take the Test. Take the Test. This has been a message from The Black Bear.