Posted by: reisendame | November 13, 2007

researchers say kids should take HIV test sooner, rather than later

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New research leads experts to believe that early, routine HIV testing will help curb the spread of this virus. HIV leads to AIDS, a disease that destroys immune systems, leaving a person’s body literally defenseless against sickness of all types. Half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 24, but few actually seek testing.

The Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center conducted a study to determine why some high-risk teens would be tested, while others would not. The authors of the study found that teens with a history of HIV testing were much more likely to be tested in the future, and conclude that it is critical for HIV testing to be made more readily available for young people.

I applaud the findings in this study, and the work of its authors. Some may argue that early HIV testing would set a precedent to encourage unsafe sex practices, but to me this claim is largely unfounded and ignorant. The truth is that AIDS is not just an African problem, or a gay problem, or a drug abuser problem: it can affect anyone, and without testing, people can carry and spread the HIV virus for 15 years unknowingly.

AIDS is a horrifying and relatively new disease in our society. We know that there is no cure (yet). And, except for a few high-profile cases, its prevalence is generally swept under the rug. CNN equates this calamity to the Bubonic (or Black) Plague, as 34.3 million people in the world have AIDS, with 24.5 million largely ignored in Africa.

It’s not illogical to worry that this epidemic will continue to spread. We must encourage further scientific research for treatment, while following current advice for its prevention.

Video: New HIV testing method allows for early diagnosis in infants in South Africa

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Responses

  1. Question: What’s the bigger number? People on QU’s campus who has been tested, or students on campus that know anything about Darfur?


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