HIV Still a Major Problem in Philadelphia, Get Tested
If you were to ask Philadelphia residents to name some of the biggest problems their city faces, you'd probably get a list that looks something like this:
- Substance abuse
- Public service budgets
- Losing sports teams
You probably wouldn't hear too many people mention HIV/AIDS. That's a problem people attribute to the '80s and places like sub-Saharan Africa, not Philadelphia. But the truth is the fight against HIV and AIDS isn't over in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Rates Are Five Times the National Average
According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, there are approximately 19,500 Philadelphia residents who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Of that number, 624 residents were newly diagnosed in 2014. Philadelphia’s infection rate of 114 per 100,000 residents is five times the national average.
The majority of new infections are a result of risky behaviors performed by those who don't know they have the virus.
One in Five People Who Are HIV Positive Don't Know It
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20% of people in the United States who are HIV positive are unaware of their infection. For those between the ages of 13 and 24, that number jumps up to about 50%.
Most people don't believe they are at risk of contracting HIV, let alone that they might already be infected. And that's precisely what makes HIV so dangerous – people not knowing they have it.
When a person is unaware of their infection, they're not able to take necessary steps to avoid passing the virus to other people.
HIV Is Preventable
HIV isn't hereditary like high blood pressure or diabetes. It isn't a condition that develops on its own like some cancers. In order for you to become infected with HIV, it must be transmitted to you from someone else.
In order to prevent, or at least limit transmission, those who are infected need to know they have the virus. Once they're aware, they'll be less likely to engage in risky behaviors which will help curb the spread of the virus. People who get tested for HIV and learn they are infected can make significant behavior changes, both to improve their own health and to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
When detected early, HIV is most often treated with anti-viral drugs that not only reduce the patient's likelihood of developing full-blown AIDS but also decrease the chances of transmitting the virus. And all you need to do to detect the disease is take the test.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Well, Philadelphia, it's time to heed the advice of your ancestor.
- Get tested
- Know your status
- Help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS
To take the test, please call 215.762.8959 or you can visit Drexel Medicine's Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice.
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.
The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.
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