AIDS Q&A 2012: Are Blacks Still Suffering The Most?

    7. What is the best and most accurate way to get tested?

    Dr. Crawford: You can get a rapid test done testing blood or saliva. They are fairly accurate. The key is to get a positive rapid test confirmed by a Western Blot test or an ELISA test. Your doctor can order these confirmatory tests. If you test negative but suspect you have been infected, it is possible the test has not detected the infection yet. Once a person is infected, the body responds by making antibodies to fight off HIV. It is these antibodies that are measured in HIV tests. It takes several weeks before these antibodies appear, so an HIV test (even the Western Blot or ELISA) would be negative early on after an infection. Two other tests, the viral load (HIV RNA) and p24 antigen tests measure other components of HIV than antibodies, and they can appear positive as early as 10 days or so. If you get a negative rapid test but are actually positive and recently infected, the rapid test should be positive in about 2-3 months.

    8. I heard there was a cure for HIV somewhere in another country, but the FDA wouldnt allow it here. Is that true?

    Dr. Crawford: I do not think that’s true but I don’t know for sure. We have some really good treatments for HIV but no cure yet. Finding a cure is an important area of research.

    I have not had a chance to research any reports of new cures, but I will. It is very important that these claims be verified and shown to be legitimate if they are truly effective. many people get tricked into using products that don’t help them and ignore medicines that are effective.

    By the time they realize this, it may be too late to save them. I do work in Africa and many of our clinics have had patients die while taking herbal medicines.

    Magic Johnson is NOT cured! But he should serve as a shining example of the quality life you can have when you stay healthy and stick to your treatment. There are thousands of “Magic Johnsons”

    9. The at-home HIV test was approved this year. What does this mean for HIV in our community and do you recommend self-testing?

    The home test has the potential to benefit the community by making the test widely available and gets around the stigma of getting an HIV test. However, there is the potential for the test to be abused, and it’s important that people understand what the test results mean and what they should do if they test positive.
I have done a full article on this topic for Blackdoctor.org that should posted today

    10. If I have HIV, does that mean my child would have it, too? What are the chances for a father giving it to his child vs. a mother giving it to her child?

    Dr. Crawford: If you have HIV, it doesn’t mean that your child will necessarily have it. Without receiving treatment, there’s about a 20-30% chance the baby will be infected when born to an infected mother. If you are receiving a fully-effective treatment regimen, the chances of you infecting your child fall to <1% (depending on the treatment). The father can only give it to the child if he infects the mother.

    11. Are the statistics still high for HIV/AIDS in African Americans? Are we the highest group getting this disease?

    Dr. Crawford: Yes! The statistics are still high for us and we are the highest group in the US who have and are getting the infection. In general, African-Americans account for about 13% of the US population, yet comprise about 50% of the cases of HIV-infected individuals. Striking increases in the number of new cases among young people between 13 and 24 years again show that African-Americans comprise the highest proportion.

    12. Is it true that a woman can’t get HIV from another woman?

    Dr. Crawford: Not necessarily. There is a chance of getting the infection through oral sex (cunnilingus) even though the risk is low. This is more likely if the person performing cunnilingus has sores and cuts in their mouth and the other person is infected. Also, contact with infected blood raises the risk.

    13. What is the best, most accurate way to get tested?

    Dr. Crawford: You can get a rapid test done testing blood or saliva. They are fairly accurate. The key is to get a positive rapid test confirmed by a Western Blot test or an ELISA test. Your doctor can order these confirmatory tests. If you test negative but suspect you have been infected, it is possible the test has not detected the infection yet. Once a person is infected, the body responds by making antibodies to fight off HIV. It is these antibodies that are measured in HIV tests. It takes several weeks before these antibodies appear, so an HIV test (even the Western Blot or ELISA) would be negative early on after an infection. Two other tests, the viral load (HIV RNA) and p24 antigen tests measure other components of HIV than antibodies, and they can appear positive as early as 10 days or so. If you get a negative rapid test but are actually positive and recently infected, the rapid test should be positive in about 2-3 months.

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