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New Jersey: HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs And Education

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 38,300 people were living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey (as of June 2015). An additional 16 percent of individuals infected with HIV are unaware of their status. Minorities account for 78 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey, and about 87 percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS are minorities. CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and those at higher risk should be tested at least once annually.

According to New Jersey Department of Health, 7,000 HIV-infected (people) received the medications through the New Jersey AIDS Drug Distribution Program from 2014 through 2015. Also, the state Department of Health's annual HIV/AIDS report stated 37,511 people in New Jersey were diagnosed but the actual number of infected people with HIV/AIDS is likely higher. Some people might not have known about the virus so did not seek treatment.

Women on a global scale, in comparison to men, have more risks of being infected with HIV/AIDS. Most of them are young and naà ve hence, they are unaware of its symptoms at the start until it's too late; therefore, HIV remains a leading cause of death among women. Yet access to HIV testing and treatment in some countries is not relatively available.

Practicing unsafe sex is the main cause of spreading this virus. Once the virus enters the body it starts to attack the white blood cells making one's immune system weak and prone to many other diseases.

It is very important for one to understand its symptoms. If detected in its early stage it can be managed but once it crosses its infancy it becomes hard to manage.

Trafficking and prostitution of women in the global market is also one of the main reasons for contracting this virus. Also, poverty with the lack of social protection plays a role in trafficking and prostitution. Rape also is a serious violation and greatly increases the risk of HIV transmission. There are many organizations protesting against this kind of act but still the authority lacks programs targeted towards the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS victims.

Studies showed that in many countries, women became prostitutes to earn a living. My friend from Court House said, "Even we have the full range of testing, counseling and treatment programs for all people in New Jersey but we have to realize that successful programs appear to depend on strong community involvement. Educating and making people aware through media like the Cape May County Herald, and the Press, can ensure curbing the risk of infection in the future to some extent."

Lack of education will naturally mean lack of awareness about HIV. We must make sure people in New Jersey have all the skills and confidence they need to protect themselves. A prevention program cannot be successful and sustainable in New Jersey until prevention programs include economic and educational initiatives for people. We should also create awareness on reproductive health that incorporates economic interventions and educational initiatives for people (men and women) in every county in New Jersey.

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Journalist, poet and editor Kamala Sarup specializes in reporting news and writing stories covering journalism, Peace, Public health, Democracy, Women/Children, development, justice and advocacy from her location inside the United States. Human (more...)

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