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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Oct 24

HIV? No Way!

Posted By iamincontrol | October 24, 2013

HIV
By Bobbie Jo

HIV? I don’t have to worry about that. I’m young, I’m healthy and that is only for people in places like Africa.

False!

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus spread through blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. People can become infected with HIV by sexual contact, intervenes drug use, or pregnancy/childbirth. HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

One in four new HIV infections occurs in people ages 13-24! Sixty percent of all youth with HIV don’t know they’re infected, so they are unknowingly infecting others. The greatest number of infections occurs among gay and bisexual youth.  But, it’s important for us to know that HIV doesn’t just occur in LGBTQ youth. 86% of young females and 6% of young males got HIV through heterosexual sex. African-Americans have high rates of HIV infection at 60%, followed by Hispanics/Latinos and Whites at 20% each. Youth with an existing STD are at greater risk for developing HIV.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

The only sure way to avoid HIV is to abstain from any sexual activity.

But youth can help reduce their risk by:

  • Limiting their number of sex partners
  • Making sure their partners are tested
  • Not having sex with an older partner who may be more likely to already have HIV
  • Using a latex condom every time

Get tested! Many people are afraid to get tested because of the fear of what they might find out, but also the fear of their parents finding out. In the state of Iowa you don’t need permission from your parent or guardian to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV or to receive treatment. But if you test positive for HIV the health care provider must legally inform your parents. Getting tested and knowing is the best way to prevent the spread of STDs and HIV.

For more information and to find out where you can get tested visit sexect.org.

You are in control of staying protected from HIV and other STDs.