Page 154 - South Mississippi Living - December, 2022
P. 154

Understanding HIV/AIDS
story by Luke Height
 December is AIDS awareness month and it’s time we get some common misconceptions about HIV/AIDs cleared up. There are so many myths and stereotypes associated around this topic and many are just not true. With over 1.2 million being affected by this virus in our country today, it’s important we know the facts and how we can prevent the spread.
There are several organizations dedicated to helping people affected by this virus and working towards educating the population. One of those organizations is AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which began as a network of hospices committed to “fighting for the living and caring for the dying.” Since then, AHF has expanded, turning hospices into healthcare centers, and building a new paradigm for HIV care both in the United States and around the world.
Sandyann Munroe, associate director of human resources for AHF and president of Spark United, an affinity group of AHF designed to support and provide resources advocate for all women, and Hans Foy, AHF learning and development
manager, help us gain a better understanding of what’s really happening.
When it comes to misconceptions, Hans says, “I think the biggest misconception is the younger generation thinks it’s no big deal and that because they are on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) they don’t need to use condoms. Which is fine but PrEp does not prevent other STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and especially syphilis, which has been on the rise for the past two years.” When it comes to taking PrEP, it’s still helpful to be extra precautious and use condoms to prevent other STIs.
We’ve always heard that people with HIV shouldn’t have children and pass it on, but that’s simply not true. Hans says, “If the female is positive and on HIV medications and undetectable, transmission possibility is less than one percent, even when breastfeeding. If the sperm donor is positive but undetectable and the female gets pregnant, the virus would not pass to the baby.” When it comes to this virus, there are tons of ways to help prevent the spread and keep the next generation safe.
154 | December 2022 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living
AIDS awareness month

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