By: Arieann Pettway
According to the Center for Disease Control, Pensacola has a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic. Escambia County alone ranks number 2 in state for most reported cases of women and children and is ranked 12th out of 67 counties in florida for the most reported cases of HIV/AIDS. One of the reasons this is so is that people have misconceptions as well as a lack of information, which contributes to the elevated cases.
The misconceptions that people have about safe sex and HIV is that they can’t catch it if they use a condom. Condoms are only 99.9% effective, so there’s still that 1% chance that the condom could break and no one feels it… giving the infected pre-ejaculation or vaginal fluids a chance to mix together. Some people have this mindset that if the male (who’s not wearing a condom) pulls out quickly that nothing will happen to them. Having unprotected sex puts people at an even greater risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. People practice unsafe sex by simply deciding to not use a condom at all.
We as a county, and community can overcome this epidemic by continually getting the people educated and testing more. The scariest thing about this disease is the people who carry it. You could be head over heels in love and in a happy relationship not knowing if the person you love is carrying this disease or not. Not knowing that in the heat of passion he or she could very well be infecting and injecting you with this disease. This is why getting tested is important. Knowing is better than not knowing. In the words of Dr. Lanza: ” If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it. And if you don’t find it, you can’t report it or prevent it.” Test early, and test often.
Learn more about HIV and where you can get tested locally at http://www.hivevolution.org/