All Articles Tagged "HIV"
35-year-old Mario L. Hunt, a special-needs teaching assistant has been arrested following accusations that he molested and infected a male student with HIV, News One reports.
Hunt, who is said to be fully aware of his HIV status, is also being investigated in a similar case involving another student. On Monday, Hunt was charged with felony counts of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and “transmitting” HIV through intimate contact. The incident occurred back in 2011 when the student was 17 years old. As of right now, authorities are unsure if the student was infected with the virus, but because Hunt exposed him to it, he is being charged with “transmitting” HIV.
Lt. Dennis Plew of the Cahokia Police Department says he’s unsure if the now 19-year-old student has been tested for the virus at all.
“This is horrible. I’m sure some kids come to school and put a lot of trust in a teacher, and for anyone to take advantage of that is a terrible thing,” Plew expressed to an AP reporter.
To make matters worse, Hunt is actually an alumnus of the Cahokia School District.
“You always think something like this isn’t going to happen here and we’d be able to see something, but it’s just so tough to know. Realistically, what can you do? It’s hard to tell what’s going on in people’s hearts and minds,” said the district’s Superintendent Art Ryan.
Ryan also added that Hunt was very popular among students and that he frequently helped out with homecoming and prom events.
“All of the kids certainly seemed to like him,” he said.
This is a very unfortunate situation. It’s very sad that our young people are being taken advantage of by the people they trust, especially in a school of all places.
“I feel like as long as if I don’t know what I have, I won’t feel sick. People always start to get sick when they find out they’re positive.”
“I’m in a monogamous relationship, so there’s no need to get tested.”
“I don’t do pap smears. They hurt.”
These are just some of the excuses you’d think I’d hear from my high school students, but they are all from the mouths of grown sexually active people who refuse to get tested for sexually transmitted infections. Most of this faulty decision-making is based on myths they’ve heard from friends about getting tested or self-diagnosis from WebMD or some other website that has led them to be in denial about their situation or allowed their imagination to get the best of them.
April is Get Yourself Tested Month. As much as I’m happy to celebrate that teen and unplanned pregnancy is on the decline, the fact still remains that 19 million new STD cases are reported in the U.S. each year and millions more go undetected and unreported. Don’t allow faulty, second-hand information be the reason to not get tested. Here are 14 things that you may not not know about STIs and getting tested:
Last night my friend called me with a “hypothetical question.”
Would you still be friends with someone who had an incurable STD if they were knowingly having raw sex with others? Or would you consider that not your business?
Initially, I didn’t read the text properly. So, I missed the whole part about the person knowingly spreading their disease. I thought she was just asking if I could be friends with someone who had an STD. In which case, I so wouldn’t care. Truth is we meet people with STDs, curable and incurable, everyday. But that’s not what she was asking. She was asking if I found it morally repugnant to have a friend who was intentionally spreading an incurable disease. Well, yeah it was definitely a helluva problem. Not only was it ethically wrong it’s also illegal.
She said that this hypothetical person didn’t want to tell her partners that she had it because she didn’t want to feel rejected and didn’t want to use protection because intercourse feels “more intimate” without it.
Well yeah that’s truly representative of a psychological issue. Maybe something like a sociopath, no regard for the pain and suffering you may be causing others in the long run. And as a friend I would definitely say something. Though, I don’t know if this person, “my friend,” would receive it when she’s using bogus excuses like “it just feels better” for having diseased, unprotected sex. It’s a sad case.
I would remind my friend that this type of behavior is not only dangerous to the people she’s knowingly infecting. It’s dangerous to her as well. I’d remind her of the man who killed a woman with HIV shortly after they’d slept together and she revealed her status. Though he never should have killed her, I, and several of MadameNoire’s readers, understood why he would be motivated to commit such a heinous crime. She was literally playing with his life.
As a friend it would be your duty to at least attempt to save her from a similiar fate. And if she refused to listen this, she wouldn’t be a friend I could associate with anymore. I couldn’t rationalize being friends with someone with such disregard for human life. Especially the lives of men she cares enough about to sleep with. If she would do that to someone she was willing to sleep with, God only knows what type of deplorable treatment she would show me as just a friend. It really isn’t that much of a stretch. People rarely reserve mistreatment for certain people in their circle. It’s more of an ubiquitous type of behavior.
And if my friend decided not to listen to me and continued sleeping with others, raw and diseased, legally I could go to the authorities and tell them what she is and isn’t saying before she beds these men. But maybe that would be taking it a bit too far.
What do you think about this situation? Could you remain friends with someone who was living so foul, endangering others? How would address the situation with your friend and what would you do if he or she decided not to change their ways?
Every 47 minutes, a woman will be diagnosed with HIV in the United States. That’s why MadameNoire is supporting The Red Pump Project’s efforts to change that statistic for the better.
Today, March 10, is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and in honor of this important day, we’re encouraging you to #RockTheRedPump. Rocking the red pump is about more than putting on your favorite pair of red heels — or sneakers — it’s about calling attention to an epidemic that is sweeping through our community and reminding people that they aren’t invisible. Sometimes seeing activity from a movement like this is all someone needs to remember to practice safe sex or to get tested or bring up the topic with their partner, or eventheir children. That’s all we and The Red Pump Project are asking you to do today.
We’ve already tweeted about it, instagramed it, and announced it here in this post. Now it’s time for you to take it from here. Take a pic in your favorite red pumps and tweet it to us @MadameNoire and @RedPumpProj with the hashtag #RockTheRedPump and we’ll retweet it so we all can do more to inspire someone to care more about their sexual health today.
Today as we observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, let us consider the statistics surrounding women and the disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women make up 24 percent of HIV diagnoses among adults in America. The risks are even greater for African-American women—with one in every 32 women being diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. Statistics further state that 85 percent of African-American women with HIV received it through high-risk sex.
ESSENCE.com caught up with NWGHAAD ambassador Cookie Johnson, wife of famed basketball player Magic Johnson, to find out how she is helping spread the message of awareness through social media and how women can keep themselves safe.
On how she’s working to get word out that women should be tested:
We’re trying to reach them where they live, which is basically through Twitter and Facebook. Everyone needs to talk about this. Part of the problem is, when my husband made his announcement back in 1991, people were dying. It was a new disease. People weren’t familiar with it. People were dying at alarming rates. Now, with the medications they have, people are still getting the disease at high rates, but they’re not dying like they used to. I wonder if that’s why people aren’t afraid of it anymore. I think we really need to bring attention to the fact that there are still huge numbers—especially women and girls—who are getting this disease.
How her marriage changed since Magic made his HIV announcement in 1991:
It actually got stronger. When you’re faced with a tragedy like that, you either do one of two things. You either band together and become a close-knit unit or you completely fall apart and go your separate ways. It’s a lot to handle. We were married a month when it happened. It was very difficult. Everything was new. I found out I was pregnant that month. I wanted to do everything possible to keep it together and fight for it. My first instinct was to go to God and get everything from Him and number two, I was going to fight for my family.
Be sure to read what other advice Cookie has for women and also when she started talking to her children about sex over on Essence.
Do you get tested on a regular basis?
Doctors announced yesterday that a baby born with HIV has been cured of the virus for the first time. This treatment could reduce the number of children living with the virus that causes AIDS. In 2011, 330,000 babies were born with HIV and there are currently more than 3 million children living with HIV across the world.
The baby, whose name and identity has been withheld, was born prematurely in 2010 in rural Mississippi to a mother who was unknowingly living with the virus. Transmission of the virus from mother to child is rare, about 200 cases a year; but because she hadn’t received any prenatal treatment, and didn’t know she was infected with HIV, she did not receive any HIV prevention drugs during her pregnancy. 30 hours after the child was born he/she was aggressively treated with antiretroviral drugs, an unusual course of action for newborns.
In the first month of this child’s life, five tests were done that proved the baby was indeed infected with HIV. Then at 18 months, the mother stopped coming to the hospital and stopped giving the baby medicine. Five months later, when the mother returned to doctors, surprisingly, all tests came back negative. Now, at 2 ½ years old, all tests still come back negative. Doctors believe there may be small strands of HIV lingering in the body but the child has no functioning signs of the virus. If the treatment and results can be duplicated in other infants, it will be recommended globally. Doctors don’t believe the findings will work in adults. Some hypothesize that the cure worked for this child because the virus was treated before it had time to establish a hidden reservoir in the baby’s system. Adults who currently live with the virus can’t be treated in the same manner because these reservoirs are out of reach to existing drugs and when drug therapy stops, the virus reemerges.
Whether the treatment proves successful in other cases, this protocol could be used for quickly testing and treating infants believed to have the virus at birth.
Good Idea Or Too Soon? Chicago Public Schools Want To Start Teaching A Form Of Sex Education To Kids In Kindergarten
As the third largest public school system in the country, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has made a major decision by passing a proposal this week that means that instead of having students learn about sex education starting in the fifth grade, they would begin the process starting in kindergarten.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Before you get your drawls all tied up in a knot and make a judgement so soon, according to ABC News, before the fifth grade, students won’t necessarily be learning about how sex works and methods of protection and those sorts of things. Instead, they will just be provided with basic knowledge about how to keep themselves safe from sexual predators and more. As it goes according to ABC News, in Kindergarten, students will learn basic information on personal safety, anatomy, healthy relationships, and reproduction. After that, up to third grade, students will focus on family, what is and isn’t inappropriate touching and more. By fourth grade, kids will be taught about puberty, as well as HIV and the myths of it. Also sex-ed will also include a conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation so that there will be more tolerance of students of the LGBT community, but it’s not clear of this will be taught in all grade levels or after a certain grade.
While parent reactions were mixed, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, thinks that in this day and age, it’s a necessary move. “It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships.” She went on to explain to ABC News that, “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”
If parents of students don’t want their child’s sexual education being taught at such a young age by the schools, they can opt out of the program, but it has been passed and this type of sex education will be implemented within the next two years. Will other public school systems in different states follow suit? That remains to be seen, but let’s be honest, with kids out here at school engaging in sexual acts with one another at four and five years old, it might be time to start informing these kids (through the parents, school, etc.) about what’s appropriate and what forms of interaction are of a sexual manner and inappropriate at such a young age. But what do you think? Good idea or just a bit too soon?
Q: I recently heard that HIV can remain dormant and undetected in your body for up to 10 years. If that’s true, what would you recommend as far as a testing schedule whether you’re single or with a monogamous partner?
It may take up to 10 years or more for someone to have AIDS. AIDS, as you may know, is the final stages of the disease, when the HIV virus damages a person’s body to the point where they start to get infections that healthy people don’t usually get. An example of a type of infection seen a lot in AIDS patients is Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (aka PCP).
The way HIV works is that once a person gets infected with the virus, it takes about 4 to 10 weeks before it can be detected in the blood (aka seroconversion). For a small group of people, it may even be more than that. At that time, the person may or may not be experiencing any symptoms. But if they are, they may complain about such things as a fever, headache, sore throat, general muscle aches, weight loss, or diarrhea. During this period of time, the virus is heavily present and the body is trying to fight it by making antibodies against the HIV virus. Most HIV tests look for the antibodies so even if the HIV virus remains dormant and undetected, a person’s HIV status can be picked up by these tests through existing antibodies.
What would be the best testing schedule? The CDC recommends that everyone between ages 13 – 64 should be tested. A repeat testing should be done if you have a new sexual partner. Ideally, it would be best to wait 3 months after the 1st sexual contact with your new partner. What would be even better is if you have your new partner tested before you even consider sleeping with him or her. People who are at very high risk for HIV (homosexual males, IV drug users, and those with multiple sex partners) are recommended to be tested every 6 to 12 months.
What can also take up to 10 years in HIV? The average amount of years an HIV-infected person who refuses treatment has from the moment the virus is seen in the blood.
From The Root
From Martin Luther King Jr. and the fight for civil rights in the 1960s to Rev. Al Sharpton and the fight against racial profiling and police brutality today, members of the clergy have been key leaders in some of the black community’s most important battles. Yet there is one issue plaguing the community on which black pastors, as a whole, have not been perceived as leaders: the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Despite the fact that African Americans now lead the nation in new cases of the HIV virus, and the fact that AIDS is the third leading cause of death among black men and women ages 35 to 44, the issue has not been embraced as a priority social justice issue by many predominantly black churches. While black pastors, for instance, played key roles as visible and vocal champions of voting and voter access this election cycle, fewer have used their weight similarly to mobilize their congregations around the issue of HIV awareness, prevention and testing.
Phil Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, told The Root that “black pastors are engaged more than they were in the past, but not as much as they need to be, given the disproportionate impact on our community.” But new research shows that they could be the key to overcoming cultural barriers to fighting the spread of AIDS in the black community.
Opening a New Battlefront
According to research released earlier this year by Brown University’s Amy Nunn, the role of black pastors could be pivotal to stemming the spread of the disease. Nunn, an assistant professor of medicine (research) in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brown Medical School, specializes in studying the connection between culture, communities and AIDS policy. She was shocked that she could not find any published research on the attitudes of black pastors on the issue of AIDS and AIDS awareness and the potential role they could play in addressing the issue.
Read the rest at The Root
In July, the FDA approved the first at-home HIV test, OraQuick, for online and over-the-counter sale at retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, and this month the product officially became available to consumers. For just $40, people can take the HIV test in the privacy of their home and within 20 minutes they will be given an answer about their status.
Though it hasn’t been on the market long, OraQuick already has one major backer, Magic Johnson. Speaking at a presentation for Orasure Technologies’ new test, Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, spoke on his own prognosis and what this test means for HIV rates down the line, particularly among minorities.
“I think it’s a game changer for us,” he said. ”When you think about the black and brown community, the stigma behind HIV and AIDS in our community … [not wanting] anybody to see us walk into a clinic or to the doctor’s office, this kit will help. That’s the people who I was thinking about most when I thought about this kit.”
According to the Huffington Post, Government officials currently estimate about 240,000 people, or one-fifth of the approximate 1.2 million people carrying HIV in the U.S., don’t know they are infected. New infections have remained the same at about 50,000 per year for the last 20 years. Magic has noticed the lack of progress.
“After I announced [my prognosis] … people were running out to actually get tested … We had a good run for about five or six years where we were talking about it openly. But fast-forward to today, people are not talking about it like they used to,” he said.
Magic is hopeful that this new at-home test will get the conversation going again, and help those who are infected cope more easily with the news.
“I think the suspense would have been taken away. Would I have reacted the same way? Yes. But what saved my life? Early detection. I got on some meds right away. In the black and brown community, what happens is a lot of time we find out too late, so the meds can’t help us.”
Let’s hope the word about this new test spreads faster than the disease. What do you think about the OraQuick at-home test?