Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: HIV Awareness

We are tired at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.

 Why? It isn't because we partook in the post-Thanksgiving marathon of themed days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Still Needs a Name Sundays, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday). No. It's not even because we ate too much. It's because we are so fed up with HIV Awareness Day being put on the back burner that we are tired.

That is right, lost in the hustle and bustle of these post-Thanksgiving themed days was HIV Awareness Day. HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Click here for more information on HIV. Many of you may remember the times of HIV/AIDS was a regular news story. While HIV is not as prevalent of a news story as it used to, it still shows up in everyday pop culture.

Other places it might show up? You guessed it, rural areas.

5 Facts About HIV/AIDS In Rural Areas
1. Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is higher in urban areas
In a report written by Dr. Medha Iyer (nee Vyavaharker) that looked at 28 states, HIV/AIDS were higher in urban counties than rural counties. Going deeper into the numbers,  HIV/AIDS tended to decrease as counties became more rural. FINALLY, some good news for people living in rural areas.

Don't worry, we were just as shocked as you are. But all this good news comes with a tidbit.

2. There are less HIV/AIDS services available in rural areas
The same study looked at HIV/AIDS services available to HIV/AIDS patients. In particular, Ryan White medical providers which provide HIV services to people lacking the resources for HIV care. Of the counties analyzed, 69% of urban counties do not have Ryan White clinics, while 95% of rural counties do not have Ryan White clinics. Unfortunately, it also found a higher proportion (78%) of rural residents with HIV/AIDS did not have a Ryan White clinic supporting them compared to urban (11%) of residents.  

3. South Carolina HIV infected adults are not accessing HIV care.
In this study written by Dr. Bankole Olatosi it looked at current HIV positive patients in South Carolina. What it found was that up to 40% of South Carolina HIV patients were not receiving care. But why? The paper pointed to several reasons which may include fear, stigmatization, denial of care, and stage of disease.

4. HIV isn't just a physical struggle, it is a mental struggle
In a study published by Dr. Kenneth Phillips, they reviewed home visits by peer counselors in rural women. What they found gives a very detailed insight of people who are infected with HIV/AIDS. During their study they found 4 themes in HIV/AIDS patients: 1. Stigma of their HIV status 2. Depression  3. Struggling Life 4. An uncomfortable dependence on others.

5. It is important to get HIV screenings if you are sexually active
Let me take the time to underline the importance of this point. Despite all the HIV awareness out there, 130,000 new people a year are infected by HIV in the United States.  The spread of HIV can be prevented. If you are sexually active here are local testing centers, please get tested often. If you are a person currently infected with HIV or AIDS, remember there is plenty of support and help out there for you. Please get in contact with your local public health department if you need it.

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time.

1 comment:

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