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All about HIV/AIDs

Your Vice President, Steven Wilkins, is a member of another non-profit organization by the name of The Armorettes. They are America's oldest drag organization, and they raise money for HIV/AIDs resources in the Atlanta Area, and have been doing so since 1979.

In their most recent meeting, which was in February, they had the pleasure of having a Doctor by the name of Dr. Pearlman be in attendance and provide very important information regarding the infamous disease.

Important Facts about HIV/AIDs:

  • Approximately 38 Million People in the world are currently HIV Positive

  • More than 1.2 Million people in the US alone are infected.

  • 15% do not know they're infected and therefore account for more than half of new infections. This number used to be close to 50% who did not know.

  • 14,000 people die every year in the US from HIV related illnesses

  • The South has one of the highest rates of HIV transmissions

  • Ages 18-34 represent the highest rate of transmissions

  • Men having sex with men account for roughly 68% of transmissions in the US

  • Intravenous (IV/Needle) drug users account for 25% of transmissions in the US

  • Organizations such as Ryan White ANYONE can receive treatment for HIV at no charge.

  • HIV itself does not cause infections, but HIV does attack the body's immune system, which in-turn, makes the body more susceptible to infections by lowering the body's T cell count.

  • 1996 was the year where we started to see more protease inhibitors. These drugs are what helped lead us to get patients to the "Undetectable" classification.

  • Undetectable = Untransmittable. This refers to having a viral load so low that it cannot be detected in standard testing and thus is unable to transmit the virus.

  • You cannot get HIV by kissing or eating/drinking after someone who is HIV Positive

  • T cells under 200 is AIDS by definition. 900 to 1000 is a normal T cell count. Over 500 is the goal for new patients to get to before doctors are less worried about infection susceptibility.

  • Without treatment it is an average of 10 years from infection before you reach AIDS level.

  • Biktarvy is one of the most current pill form treatments. One a day.

  • Cabenuva is a new injectable treatment option that requires two shots every two months but removes the need for a daily pill.

  • PREP or Pre-exposure prophylaxis are treatment options available to HIV negative individuals to prevent transmission of the virus. Truvada is the most common,

  • Discovey is the newest pill option for PREP and is sometimes better for the patient's kidneys and bones but it has received less testing in Trans Women and AFAB individuals as opposed to Truvada

  • Aptitude is an injectable Prep option similar to Cabenuva for treatment.

  • Individuals with above average numbers of sexual partners should be tested quarterly

  • Takes roughly 2 weeks from infection to test positive on most tests

  • 3-6 months from beginning of treatment until a person is considered undetectable. Adversely, if you stop taking your meds you could rise above undetectable levels in as little as one month. Now, this is not everything there is to know about HIV/AIDs, however this is very good to know information that you might not have known before. We always recommend that if you feel as though you have contracted HIV to please contact your primary care physician and start testing and treatment immediately. And please remember, a HIV diagnosis is NOT a death sentence, medicine has evolved tremendously since the 1980s and 1990s, and you can live a relatively healthy life with HIV now.


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