BY REBECCA SHEEHAN
The HIV epidemic has plagued America for over three decades. Regardless of how diligently health advocates try to inform us about this disease, there is still too much misinformation about it, most notably in minority communities throughout the state.
The Press of Atlantic City released that blacks represent 14 percent of the Garden State's population, but 53 percent of those with HIV. And according to the state Department of Health, Hispanics, represent 18 percent of that same population and 23 percent of HIV cases. Specifically among the black communities, there is a lot of denial and fear when it comes to getting informed about HIV.
“There has not been a huge conversation or a dialogue regarding sex and HIV,” said health educator at Atlantic City’s Oasis drop in-center, Travis Love, to the Press of Atlantic City. “The price of silence is that we have a greater value for shame than for life.”
When HIV first surfaced, the disease was being found predominantly in the young, white gay men.
But in the 1990s, Jean Haspel, an adult nurse practitioner and HIV specialist, started seeing more partners being diagnosed due to needle drug users. And the spread of the disease through needles and drug users can have a heavy effect if the people are not informed on the precautions.
There have been countless programs that have curbed this chain of infection, but information is the best way.