Before you become unnecessarily fearful about contracting HIV/AIDS, consider these 3 essential elements: know the facts, commit to a sexual strategy based on your core values and learn where to get help if you need it.
You cannot contract HIV/AIDS through social contact, like sharing a straw or holding hands.
You can contract HIV through unprotected sexual contact and contaminated blood products.
It has been reported by the CDC that an estimated 4,883 people ages 13-24, received a diagnosis of HIV infection or AIDS, which represented 13% of the total cases reported in 2004.
Minority youth are showing higher risk levels, particularly African Americans in the age group of 13-24. Their infection rate accounted for 55% of all HIV infections in this age range.
An estimated 2,174 young people are living with AIDS, according to a 2005 report by the CDC.
A 2005 CDC report highlighted that both casual and chronic substance abusers were more likely to engage in high risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex.
Commit to a sexual strategy based on your core values:
Set aside 10 minutes to consider a strategy that may someday save your life.
Answer the following questions: What type of relationship do you want?
Do you want a partner that you can be honest with, and who can be honest with you?
Do you value trust in a relationship?
Do you want a partner who you can communicate openly with about your deepest thoughts?
Do you want someone who shares your values morally and spiritually?
If the answer to even one of these questions is yes, then your sexual strategy may result in decision of abstinence before marriage and/or a frank discussion about sexual history with your potential partner, prior to engaging in an intimate relationship.
These are the most effective ways to insure protection from HIV infection. Using barrier methods and being tested for HIV before sexual intimacy is also recommended, and is a key element to any effective strategy to fully prevent HIV transmission.
For short term versus long-term consequences, ask yourself this question: Will my short-term pleasure result in long term consequences that will not benefit my life?
If the answer is yes, then again, an open, honest conversation about sexual history and/or abstinence before marriage may be a good choice for you.
Commit to this strategy.
Stay focused on your commitment, before a date, party or evening out on the town.
Share your strategy with a close and trusted friend. Understand that your commitment could be compromised by drug or alcohol use.
Know where to find help:
The Cabrini College Health Center can refer you to a local medical office for two types of HIV testing: anonymous and confidential.
Anonymous testing means that the results are not connected with your name. This is the preferred way to effectively insure your results will not end up in insurance data bases.
Confidential means that your test results will not be shared with others. Call 610-902-8531, for an appointment or come during walk-in hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Cabrini College Counseling Services staff is trained and ready to help discuss your concerns surrounding the issues related to HIV/AIDS.
This service is free and confidential for all Cabrini College Students. Call 610-902-8561 for an appointment or come during walk-in hours: Monday through Friday from 12-1 p.m.
This week’s health nut is a courtesy of Counseling Servies and The Office of Health and Welness.