by Theodore Noel, Executive Director of Guiding Right

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and is transmitted through contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. Such contact can occur through unprotected sex, through sharing of needles or other drug injection equipment, through mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy or breastfeeding. There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS. Once an individual contracts HIV, he or she has it for life.

HIV/AIDS surveillance began in 1982 in the state of Oklahoma. Like many other diseases, African Americans has been disproportionately infected and affected by HIV/ AIDS. While the Frontier Strip states may not be commonly associated with high HIV incidence (with the possible exception of Texas), two-thirds of Oklahoma’s population resides in just two metropolitan areas: Oklahoma City and Tulsa. These densely populated cities resemble metro regions along the nation’s coasts, with high traffic of incoming residents and visitors, and economically disadvantaged minority populations. In these two metro areas, HIV/AIDS has long impacted African-Americans disproportionately. In 2017, the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area had the highest rates of HIV infection in the state.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), as of December 31, 2016, there were approximately 5,954 people living with HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma.

The full article on this highly important topic can be found on page 21 of Shades Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 3.  Stay informed!  Get your copy today! 

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