Update your real status

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Red ribbons began to pop up as avatars for friend’s Facebook profiles, but I wonder how many actually know their real status.

Today is World AIDS Day, and while it is  important to take note of the global impact of this epidemic, we need to also be aware of the local consequences and statistics.

The reality of it all is that HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects African American and Hispanic communities. Reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are staggering enough to propel some people to go out and get tested, but most will refuse.

Here are some facts:

-African Americans accounted for 52 percent of HIV diagnoses and 48 percent of AIDS diagnoses in 2008.

-In 2007, African Americans accounted for 46 percent of people living with HIV in America.

-Among the men diagnosed with AIDS in 2008, 52 percent of the African- American men, 63 percent of the Latino men and 78 percent of white men contracted the disease from male-to-male sexual conduct.

-African-American women were the leading new cases of AIDS diagnoses in 2008, followed by 75 percent of Hispanic women and 65 percent of white women.

These are national facts.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, there are 20, 871 people living with HIV/AIDS, and it’s estimated that another 5,000 people don’t even know they have it.

Out of all of the new cases in 2008, 65 percent were African American and 16 percent were Hispanic.

The AIDS case rate for African Americans in Chicago is four times higher than whites. The HIV infection frequency rate twice that of whites.

The fact is, while we decide to make a statement on a social network or tweet about the importance of World AIDS Day, we must also update our real status.


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