Dr. Rachael Ross is one of the leading activists against HIV/AIDS. The medical doctor/sexologist who is a recurring guest on the popular daytime medical show The Doctors, says that everyone needs to be tested annually whether you’re married or in a committed relationship or not. It’s important to know your status as she says that 2% of African-Americans have HIV/AIDS and that 20% of those infected don’t even know. National HIV Testing Day is Friday, June 27.
The Tom Joyner Morning Show spoke to Dr. Ross this morning to find out more.
Why do you have to have National HIV Testing Day on Friday?
It’s a way to start the weekend off right. Don’t you want to go thorugh the weekend on the right track. If you get a diagnosis of HIV on a Friday, you just regroup, meditate, plan, get ready and go to the doctor on Monday. If you get a positive HIV test, you’re going to have to change your life in some ways, so why not start on a Friday, you’ve got Sunday to pray about it.
It’s the perfect day. Even the Centers for Disease Control and the United States Preventative Task Force all recommend that everyone between 13 and 64 get tested for HIV every year, and particularly in our community when an estimated 2% of us have HIV.
When you really look at the numbers you have to realize its something that is predominantly affecting us and we have to get tested each year. Test our partners, and teach our children to start getting tested and teach safer sex practices. You have the home test that you endorsed that only takes 20 minutes.
Should a person have condoms and an HIV test by the bedside?
If you’ve had any reckless activities in the past month or two and you’re worried that you have an HIV infection, you really need to get a blood draw from your physician.The rapid HIV tests, the kind that you can do at home, or the kind you can do at a clinic, those are only effective if it’s been 3-6 months since you’ve contracted the virus. What I’m excited about is that there are just more ways to test now. We really don’t have an excuse now. When 20% of the people who have HIV don’t know it, they could be passing it along to a loved one all day everyday.
When you look at HIV infections, they’re by the historically Black colleges and universities. The people greatest at risk are those between the ages of 25-34 and the second highest infection rate is between 13-24. Miami, Baton Rouge and Jacksonville, Florida; those are our top three cities. Then New York, D.C. and Florida. We’ve got to do better.
How does one start the conversation with a partner about testing?
I never have sex with anyone without knowing their HIV status, so let’s get tested together. That way you know for sure where everybody is.
A Tribute to Folks We Lost to AIDS
1. Alvin Ailey 1931-19891 of 19
2. Franklyn Seales 1952-19902 of 19
3. Jermaine Stewart 1957-19973 of 19
4. Kevin Peter Hall 1955-19914 of 19
5. Gia Carangi 1960-19865 of 19
6. Arthur Ashe 1943-19936 of 19
7. Larry Riley 1953-19927 of 19
8. Fela Kuti 1938-19978 of 19
9. Willi Smith 1948-19879 of 19
10. Sharon Redd 1945-199210 of 19
11. Pedro Zamora 1972-199411 of 19
12. David Hampton 1964-200312 of 19
13. Yvonne Vera 1964-200513 of 19
14. Freddie Mercury 1946-199114 of 19
15. Perry Watkins 1948-199615 of 19
16. Anthony Perkins 1932-199216 of 19
17. Max Robinson 1939-198817 of 19
18. Rick Aviles 1952-199518 of 19
19. Robert Reed 1932-199219 of 19