Today December 1 2010 is World AIDs Day with its theme being Act Aware.. Last year the theme was Universal Access and Human Rights. With so many things bombarding us ranging from lack of jobs, unemployment benefits not being extended political strife and the latest Lil Kim diss toward Nicki Minaj, thinking about HIV and AIDs may not be top of mind… This morning we wanted to remind folks as to what’s happening..In many of our communities this dreaded disease is still impacting us in ways that are incredibly impacting. The leading cause of death among young people is HIV and AIDs. The primary culprit is lack of medical care and access. Here in the US the primary culprit is woeful ignorance. That has got to change.
First lets start with this song from Michael Franti called ‘Positive’. It was a song done back in 1994 and was proceeded with a request for urban radio stations all around the country to pay tribute to World AIDs day by giving a moment of silence. Sadly many of the urban stations in the big cities where HIV and AIDs was impacting us the most refused. Fortunately, we can share this ground breaking song here.
On a side note wanna give a shout out to West Coast pioneer Captain Rap who put out the song Bad Times back in 1983.. For many of us it was the first time we heard the word AIDs in a rap song. He talks about it in the third verse and how doctors were afraid to treat victims of this new disease. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QPUazhwYdg&feature=related
For this World AIDS Day 2010 a number of high profile artists are staging ‘digital deaths‘ in which they log off line and won’t come back on until money is raised for the organization Buy Life. They include Usher, Lady Gaga, P-Diddy, Usher and Serana Williams to name a few. The goal is to bring awareness to those in younger generations who are constantly being challenged by videos, TV shows and celebrity sex tapes that leave one with the impression that unprotected sex is ok.
For example, the recent sexually charged video by Raheem Devaughn ‘Single’ has everyone buzzing as he performs oral sex on a partner. While its no doubt tantalizing and being widely viewed, one has to ask does it leave those who are young, sexual active and impressionable with the wrong message that everything is a-ok with no consequences. The startling statistics say we need to raise awareness in a big way.
Below is a a video from Alicia Keys who is also one of the celebrities participating in the digital death series. Will her message be as widely viewed as some of the sex charged videos?
Facts About HIV and AIDs Every One Hip Hop Head Should Know
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:
Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.
Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.
AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make “antibodies,” – (chemicals that are part of the immune system that recognize invaders like bacteria and viruses and mobilize the body’s attempt to fight infection special molecules to fight HIV.
A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive.”
Being HIV-positive, or having HIV disease, is not the same as having AIDS. Many people are HIV-positive but don’t get sick for many years. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don’t cause any problems can make you very sick if your immune system is damaged. These are called “opportunistic infections.”
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluid or breastmilk from an HIV-positive person enters the body of an HIV-negative person. HIV can enter the body through a vein, the lining of the anus or rectum, the lining of the vagina and/or cervix, the opening to the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes — such as the eyes or inside of the nose — or cuts and sores. Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV and other viruses and bacteria.
Worldwide, the most common way that HIV is transmitted is through sexual transmission, including anal, vaginal or oral sex with an HIV-positive person. HIV also can be transmitted by sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is HIV-positive, or from an HIV-positive woman to her infant before or during birth or through breastfeeding after birth. HIV also can be transmitted through receipt of infected blood or blood clotting factors.
Does having HIV mean you’ll die?
Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will die. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living with AIDS. Bottom line, HIV/AIDS is not the same death sentence it was say 25 years ago. People are living long healthy lives with HIV and AIDS. The sooner you start to become aware and the more you know about the “virus” the better your chances are delaying the effects of the disease.
Conscious Daughters and Paris-Caught Up
Do I have to tell everyone that I’m HIV positive?
No. Who you tell your status is your own business. They only people that need to tell are anyone you are going to have unprotected sex with. Not disclosing your status is punishable by law. Any person who exposes another to HIV by engaging in unprotected sexual activity is guilty of a felony, when the infected person: 1) knows he/she is infected; 2) has not disclosed his/her HIV-positive status; and 3) acts with the intent to infect the other person with HIV. The felony charge is punishable in the state prison for three, five, or eight years.
How do I protect myself and my partner from contracting HIV?
Getting tested, knowing your status and limiting risk-factors for contracting the virus like sharing needles or having unprotected sex with other people, is the best way to protect yourself and your partner. Many health advocates suggest getting tested at least 3 to 4 times a year and more depending on the person’s sexual behaviors.
Can you tell someone is HIV positive just by looking at them?
No. A person living with HIV may look healthy and feel good just like you. A blood test is the only way a person can find out if he or she is infected with HIV.