HIV is a popular disease that affects people all over the world. Due to its popularity, there are numerous myths and stereotypes about it. For instance, some people have a false perception that it’s only young and homosexual people who have the virus. However, nearly half of people living with HIV in the United States are aged 50+ and straight.
Although a lot of people who have the virus were diagnosed with HIV when they were younger, still, a lot of people over 50 years old contract HIV yearly. But since they rarely get tested, compared to younger people, most of them are ignorant of their HIV status. In case you are worried about your HIV status, you can easily get a home test kit at HealthyMD, Inc. You can conduct the test in the comfort of your home in private. Keep reading to discover who has higher rates of HIV.
Everyone is at risk of having HIV, irrespective of location, race, ethnicity, age, or gender. However, some people are more susceptible to having HIV due to certain factors. Below are some of the factors that may increase the risk of HIV.
Engaging in Risk Behaviors
These are behaviors you engage in that put you at risk of contracting the disease. They can be as simple as not wearing a condom during sex or having multiple sexual partners. Risk behaviors can also be more complex, such as engaging in high-risk drug use before sex or having anal sex.
In communities where a lot of people have HIV, the chances that more people will get infected compared to areas with no prevalence is pretty high. With the help of the CDC’s HIV, STD, hepatitis, and tuberculosis Atlas Plus, you can know the HIV prevalence in various U.S. counties and states.
Subpopulations are groups of people who have the same or similar characteristics. For example, subpopulations could be gay, transgender women, and intravenous drug users. The risk of having HIV is higher among these subpopulations.
Who Has Higher Rates Of HIV
While anyone can contract HIV, especially those who have unprotected sex with an infected partner, however, the rates are higher in some cases than in others. Below are the categories with higher rates of HIV.
The rate of HIV among men who have sex with men is higher than that of other groups. According to a paper from the CDC, more than 1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S., and more than 25% of them are MSM.
Also, even though the MSM population in the United States is just about 2% of the entire country’s, more than half of them are infected with HIV.
Injection Drug Users
In the United States, about one-third of injection drug users have been associated with HIV. As of the year 2000, 23 percent of people living with HIV were IDUs; however, the rate reduced drastically to 8 percent in 2010. Although there has been notable progress, there is still a need to create more awareness for those who may be ignorant of their HIV status.
In 2010, the population of straight women who had heterosexual intercourse with an HIV-infected partner was over one-quarter of the new infections. However, the population increased to 83 percent in 2019. This was the highest percentage of HIV infection.
The rate of HIV in the criminal justice system in the United States is about five times higher than that of the general population. This is mainly because many people who are incarcerated will have been involved in drug use, which is linked to an increased risk of contracting HIV.
The rate of HIV among ethnic minorities in the United States is high, with African Americans having the highest rate. About 64 percent of newly infected HIV victims among MSM are Black Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiian.
The rate of HIV among older people above the age of 50 in the United States has been steadily increasing since 2010 when it was 16 percent of new infections. The increase can be attributed to the fact that older couples tend not to practice safe sex since they are not at risk of getting pregnant.
The rate of HIV among younger people in the United States is rising. In 2010, about 9800 people aged 13-24 were living with HIV. This is about 20 percent of new infections then. The high rate among this group is associated with HIV-risk behaviors like drug abuse and unprotected sexual intercourse.
The rate of HIV has been on the rise for many years now, and several factors contribute to this increasing trend. In case you are worried about this rise, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting HIV. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Get an HIV test
Remember that everyone is at risk for HIV, even if they think they’re not. You can’t tell if someone is infected with HIV just by looking at them or talking with them. The only way to be sure is to get tested.
Always use condoms
If you have a partner who has had unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive, they could also be at risk for getting HIV as well. Unfortunately, no one can tell if they’ve contracted the virus until they’ve done a test. This is why it’s important to use condoms every time you have sex with someone new.
Avoid Sharing Needles
Sharing needles or other injection drugs with someone else increases your chances of becoming infected with blood-borne viruses like hepatitis C and HIV.
Speak to your healthcare provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
PrEP is a medication that can help prevent HIV. It is used to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. PrEP is strongly recommended for people who are at extremely high risk of acquiring HIV.
Anyone can have HIV, especially if necessary precautions are not taken. However, injection drug users are at higher risk. To be sure of your status and also get immediate help, it is essential to get tested for HIV as soon as possible.
HussaiN is a full-time professional blogger from India. He is passionate about content writing, Tech enthusiast & computer technologies. Apart from content writing on the internet, he likes reading various tech magazines and several other blogs on the internet.