This past Sunday, June 27th, was National HIV Testing Day. Did you know that in 2018, Hispanics/Latinx made up 27% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the U.S.?
As healthcare providers and future healthcare providers, how informed are you about this serious threat to the health of our community?
Late last year, Dr. Marcus Tellez, D.O. held a webinar on HIV Prevention in honor of National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day. In this webinar, he spoke about the prevention of HIV and how to navigate these conversations as a healthcare provider with patients.
Here are some of the top things you should know:
1. Latinx gay and bisexual men have a 1 in 6 lifetime risk of acquiring HIV
In comparison, White gay and bisexual men have a 1 in 11 lifetime risk of acquiring HIV.
2. HIV ≠ AIDS
HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and is the actual infection of the virus. AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is the outcome of having the virus affect your immune cells.
3. There is no risk of HIV transmission when in contact with HIV infected body fluids with intact skin
As those who are in healthcare or are working towards a career in healthcare, it is important to understand that people with HIV are still humans. It is highly insensitive to not want to touch a patient or shake hands with them because of their diagnosis. These sorts of attitudes and stigmas make those in this community more susceptible to not want to get care and not trust healthcare providers. As Dr. Tellez says in the webinar, "You should not be making your patients feel less than."
4. There are HIV Prevention Treatments
There is a medication called HIV PrEP. PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV, to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. If you take these medications daily, it reduces the risk of HIV infection from sex by more than 90%.
It's important as a PCP to be familiar with these treatments to help better the care of your patients and get them on the proper medications. Also, don't just assume that because your patients are on these medications, that they have HIV. Getting rid of these biases and assumptions will ultimately have better health outcomes for patients.
As we wrap up Pride Month, it's important for our community to continue educating ourselves and to have conversations surrounding these issues beyond the month of June.
To learn more and hear all the gems Dr. Marcus Tellez drops throughout this webinar, watch it below!