Is The HIV and AIDS Epidemic Over?

According to CDC About 1.2 million Americans are still living with HIV and about 18 percent of those people do not even know they are infected,.

According to CDC About 1.2 million Americans are still living with HIV and about 18 percent of those people do not even know they are infected.

Some people mistakenly believe that the HIV and AIDS epidemic that impacted the Western world starting in the 1980s is over with. Others accept that millions of people still have HIVr AIDS but believe it is a condition that can be easily treated. Activists such as former basketball player Magic Johnson of Los Angeles Lakers fame are renewing their efforts to once again increase HIV and AIDS education, especially among young people.

About 1.2 million Americans are still living with HIV and about 18 percent of those people do not even know they are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While men who have intimate relations with other men are still a high risk group, people do get the disease from heterosexual relations. While blood screening has improved since the 1980s, a few people still contract HIV from a blood transfusion. Babies can still get HIV from their mothers, especially if the woman used intravenous drugs or had relations with a homosexual or bisexual man.

Treatment options such as antiretroviral drug “cocktails” have made it so that HIV is not necessarily an automatic death sentence. But Johnson along with medical professionals warn that the drugs are expensive, have a risk of significant side effects, and do not cure HIV. Also, people on antiretroviral treatment must take numerous pills daily and be responsible enough not to miss doses.

The best way to prevent HIV or AIDS is to abstain from intravenous drug use and stay sexually abstinent. Condoms make sex “safer” for people of all sexual preferences, but are not 100 percent effective against any type of sexually transmitted disease.