HIV/AIDS was thought to be an epidemic of the past, causing complacency in education and awareness of the disease, but according to recent studies that is not the case. 1 in 4 new cases of HIV/AIDS effects ages 13-24. Those people contracting the virus are then spreading the disease among their peers not knowing to get tested or educated on the spread of HIV/AIDS.
According to the CDC there are around 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older living with HIV infection, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection.
The number of people living with AIDs over the past ten years has increased. Within the overall estimates, however, some groups are affected more than others.
MSM continues to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection, and among races/ethnicities, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected.
Also a large risk group according to the CDC is drug users by injection.
It seems the education and awareness of this growing issue has fallen to the wayside until now. The UFC has teamed up with New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing and safe sex.
UFC women’s welterweight Miesha Tate and UFC featherweight Dennis Bermudez are the faces of a new campaign called “Protect Yourself.”
Their main message is to protect yourself and get tested.
Tate also stated before receiving her own public HIV test in Manhattan “I was really surprised to find the statistics that I found were over a thousand young people being infected a week, and these are numbers that we haven’t seen since the ’80s. I remember when there was a lot of emphasis on awareness. A lot of commercials, and the “Philadelphia” movie, those kinds of things. As of recent, I can’t remember the last time I saw anything HIV awareness-related. I wanted to be involved with this HIV campaign because no other sport reaches these demographics like the UFC. I feel like young people might listen to UFC fighters like ourselves, and I think it would be an injustice to be in a position to be a role model for young, up-and-coming people and not do something with it.”
It is important to bring awareness to social issues like the ones being showcased here. Kuddos to Tate, Bermudez and all others involved in this campaign.
Check out the campaign news at http://at.ufc.com/tc1C
For more information on how to protect yourself http://aids.gov/