When most college students think about their personal health, they probably think about the bottles of vitamins sitting on their kitchen counter or about the brief physical checkups their parents force them to go to whenever they visit home. But for a majority of college students, sexual health and the threat of AIDS may never cross their mind. The spread of AIDS is an increasingly prevalent issue in the U.S., which too many people choose to ignore. People take the dangers of AIDS too lightly, and due to their lack of information, they never stop to think that it could happen to them. However, AIDS is a real health threat and is a topic that everyone should be thoroughly educated about.
According to aids.gov, the acronym AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final, and most developed, stage of HIV or human immunodeficiency virus. HIV and AIDS are diseases that lower the number of T cells in an infected individual’s body, and over time, as the number of T cells in the body decreases, the infected individual becomes more susceptible to viruses and infections. AIDS can affect anyone, regardless of age, race or gender.
AIDS awareness is incredibly important because it is a disease that, once infected, you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Although AIDS is very manageable with modern medicine, there is no safe and effective cure for the disease yet. Everyone is potentially at risk, but recent studies show that college-aged students are at more of a risk than ever. In fact, the Florida Department of Health reported that “16 percent of all new HIV infections reported in 2014 were among persons under the age of 25.” They also reported that Broward County has the second highest concentration of AIDS cases in Florida, meaning that students at NSU have an increased risk for exposure to the disease.
Students in South Florida are in an environment that makes them much more susceptible to AIDS than other college students, and being informed about AIDS can make a world of difference. AIDS awareness should be a top priority for both students and universities. The only way to stop the spread of AIDS is to inform individuals about the causes and risks of the disease. Everyone should take the time to inform himself or herself, as well as others, about what AIDS is, how it can be contracted and how it can be prevented.
A general understanding of what AIDS is can also help end the stigma towards those suffering from the disease. Too many people believe that those who suffer from AIDS contracted it through carelessness, unsafe sexual contact or even drug use. But in reality, AIDS can unknowingly be passed on through pregnancy, breastfeeding, incidental contact with infected blood and a number of other ways. There are far too many myths about AIDS that could be ended with increased AIDS awareness.
Increasing awareness about AIDS is an important step in ending the spread of AIDS and helping to spread acceptance and compassion for those who are already living with the disease. Awareness is especially important for college students because they are typically at a higher risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Knowledge is power, and understanding AIDS is the best way to keep yourself safe and healthy.