Sheen’s Public Disclosure of HIV Status Underscores Dangers of High-Risk Behavior, Importance of Prevention and Routine HIV & STD Testing
LOS ANGELES (November 17, 2015) Today AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest AIDS organization, issued a national reminder that sexually active people should practice safer sex by using condoms consistently, undergoing regular health screenings for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and promptly seeking medical treatment to avoid transmitting infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 50,000 people in the United States are newly infected with HIV each year and that 9 out of 10 new infections arise from people living with HIV/AIDS who are not in medical care to achieve viral suppression, including those who are unaware of their infection. The CDC also estimates that just 30% of people living with HIV/AIDS have the virus under control.
“We’ve seen way too many examples of people’s lives being changed forever by having unprotected sex,” said AHF Chief of Medicine Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler. “The AIDS virus does not discriminate based on race, gender, fame or fortune and it makes one wonder why when people are involved in high risk activity, they don’t protect themselves. The old adage holds true that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even relying on the word of someone who says they are ‘undetectable’ is risky because a lot of people are not adherent to the daily pill regimens—especially those who are struggling with addiction. It’s truly a shame that people have gotten themselves in trouble in a variety of different ways because they did not take the simple and easy precaution of using a condom.”
HIV is transmitted through the following methods:
- Having sex without a condom
- HIV infection can happen through anal, vaginal or oral sex without the use of a condom. Unprotected (condom-less) oral sex is not as risky as vaginal and anal, but still can spread HIV, especially when there are cuts, bleeding gums or canker sores in the mouth. Learn more about condoms and their use.
- Sharing needles, syringes or drug works
- Sharing any of the equipment to inject drugs can spread HIV.
- Pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
- Without treatment, an HIV-positive woman will transmit HIV to her child during pregnancy or childbirth about 25% of the time. Babies can also become positive through breastfeeding.
AHF’s Wellness Centers provide free testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. To find the nearest location for STD screening and treatment, visit www.freestdcheck.org