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Aids: The Importance Of Using Safe Sex And Knowing Your Status

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Specific Purpose: To inform my audience of the vast affect of HIV/AIDS on society today.

Central Idea: Every indivual should know their status and know all the facts about safe sex and other options to protect themselves from this disease.

"By now you'd think people would know a lot about HIV, but they don't. I would never tell someone I was not close to. Even when I do feel close enough to someone to tell them, I wonder. Are they going to say, 'Get away from me! Don't touch me!' The truth is that people really do look at you differently when they know you are HIV positive. ... It is hard. But I know people's ignorance is not going to go away. I still think people are going to hate me or not want to be my friend when they learn I have HIV." ( Mclunddin, 2003, p. 36)

This quote comes from an eighteen year old female who's name has been disclosed, but this problem is not one that is affecting a small community but over one million Americans are infected with HIV or Aids and about twenty percent of them don't know they are infected Aids knows no social or demographic boundaries, nor does it have respect of class, income, or status. There is only one factor that the virus looks for and that is a living and breathing human being. The virus is even more prevalent in third world countries leaving many children without parents or a stable home. Which is the main reason we all should be aware of our status and well being. Every individual should know all the fact and myths of safe sex, and know where, when, and how to get regular check ups to help slow down the devastating affects of this disease on the twenty first century.

A third of the HIV cases today are between the ages of 18-24, which many of us fall into this age bracket. And living with this condition is very easy yet very harmful when you are not aware that you are infected. Even with the virus being such a world wide spread disease it is very resilient. And with out us there is no way that this virus can survive and continue to destroy the lives of million of Americans that it has done already. Yet this factor leaves no one safe or immune, because we continue to pass it on to our

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partners, friends and even our children.

So if we are the ones that control this epidemic why is it flourishing and destroying our communities by the thousands everyday? Basically this stems from the misinformation and communication of the seriousness of the infection. From the first case of recorded a little over twenty years ago the disease was marked as a "gay disease" and left most homosexual individuals being left to blame for the passing on of this virus. Yet ignorance set in and didn't allow Americans to realize that the disease was also passed on through drug addicts who shared needles and also heterosexual who indulged in unprotected sex with infected partners. Even sadder are third world countries who's education and knowledge of this matter is very minute and allowed the disease to flourish and take over their communities a whole lot quicker than they were able to rebuild their communities, lives, and families. Reporters recently reported that in Bangkok, Thailand more that Fifteen million children have lost one or both of their parents to due to Aids. This has bee projected only to get worse by 2010 leaving more than eighteen million orphans due to the progression of AIDS.

Reported in 2003 by the CDC out of fifty states North Carolina was ranked as number ten with a total of one thousand and eighty three new Aids cases for that year. Yet there is only 30% ratio of North Carolina residents that were tested in 2003 leaving 70% of the state not sure of their status. With nine others states in the US with stats even higher than North Carolina's it os almost safe to say that this epidemic has grown so far and wide spread that it has a tremendous affect on society even those greater than the damage of terrorism in the US. The only difference that is causing so much harm is that we can't see the affects of HIV and AIDS until it is absolutely to late to do anything about it and once one is infected there is no cure only one end.

Dr. Del Rio stated "What people need to hear is that HIV still is a very significant, severe disease. People do not take it seriously enough. It is a major threat. It is something we are not doing

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enough about. Forty thousand new infections a year is unacceptably high. We have the highest number of new infections of any developed nation. People say, 'Oh, there are therapies, I can have unsafe sex.' We need to get people



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