Tag Archives: AIDS

ASK JANICE SPECIAL: It’s World AIDS Day 2019 – Do You Know Your Status?

December 1st is World AIDS Day – do you know your status? If you don’t, you really should get tested, especially if you’re a Black woman. No, really. You should!

This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community”. This couldn’t be a more fitting theme, because as a community of Black women, we still have much work to do.

The good news is, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), between 2010 and 2016, new HIV diagnoses have declined by 25% for African American women. This is a better decline than seen globally, where new HIV diagnoses overall have declined by 16% since 2010.

But, like I said, we still have work to do. Consider that while HIV diagnoses have declined, in 2017 (the most recent year statistics are available), women in the U.S. made up 19% of the new HIV diagnoses. Of that number, 86% were infected by heterosexual contact, compared to only 14% infected by injection drug use. Half of the women infected that year were 25-44 years of age. What’s especially troubling for our community is that 59% of the newly infected women were African American. That’s more than half!

Even scarier, the CDC says that 1 in 9 women with HIV don’t even know they have it. That’s not surprising, considering HIV testing rates among women are alarmingly low. With 86% of new infections coming from heterosexual contact, that means that nearly 4 decades after HIV/AIDS was first discovered, there are still far too many Black women out here having unprotected sex with men!

The CDC says that in general, receptive sex is riskier than insertive sex. That means that women have a higher risk of getting HIV through vaginal and anal sex than their male partners. And, while we may not want to admit it, too many of us don’t know the risk factors of our male sex partners. When you then add the fact that women are less likely to get tested, it’s no wonder we’re still seeing so many new HIV diagnoses among Black women.

Here’s what I need you to do: GET TESTED AND LEARN YOUR STATUS! 1 in 9 of y’all are walking around out here infected and missing out on life-saving medications and treatments! If you’re 25-44 years of age and engage in heterosexual sex, then you’re at an even higher risk.

First thing tomorrow morning, make an appointment with your doctor or plan to visit a clinic. Consider it a form of self-care, if you will. And remember, an HIV diagnosis isn’t the death sentence it used to be. But you MUST get tested to get the treatment you need to prolong your life.

So get tested and know your status. Let’s end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our community now!


#WorldAIDSDay #GetTestedKnowYourStatus #GetTested #KnowYourStatus #WorldAIDSDay2019 #EndTheEpidemicNow

New Recommendations On How To Prevent HIV/AIDS

Ladies, did you know that in the US, HIV-infection rates are no longer going down and at the same time condom use continues to fall?

What to do?

US health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now recommending that Americans at high risk of infection take Truvada(R), a pill from Gilead Sciences.  Truvada is the only drug approved for both HIV prevention – and treatment

SuzyKnew! first brought you news on Truvada back in May 2012, when it was approved by the FDA to prevent HIV/AIDS in addition to its use as treatment. At the time, the CDC declined to recommend the drug to stave off HIV infection, despite the FDA approval. Now the organization has changed its mind. According to FiercePharma, fewer than 10,000 patients use Truvada now. But, that could rise drastically – as much as five-fold – if more people follow the new guidelines. However, it could take quite a while for people to start using the drug for prevention, even though it could save and extend lives.

It’s definitely great news that there is now more than one way to prevent HIV/AIDS. We need all the ammunition we can get. But, we all know condoms are the only way to prevent both HIV and STI’s. Plus, condoms are drug-free.

Keep it sexy!

Keep it healthy


What Do Women in Washington, DC, Nigeria, And Rwanda Have In Common?

What do women living in Washington, DC, Nigeria, and Rwanda have in common? They are living in places that have an HIV/AIDS rate of 3 percent.

As the 19th International AIDS Conference closes in Washington, DC, we’re reminded of how much African-American women, especially those living in urban areas, have in common with African women regarding contracting HIV. As the Huffington Post, BET, the Root, and major news networks have reported, AIDS is the number one killer of African-American women between the ages of 25 – 34, which is also the case in some African countries. While AIDS has become a feminine disease in sub-Saharan Africa and remains a masculine one in the States, Black women, regardless if they’re African or American, contract HIV from their partners unknowingly.

The conference follows Johns Hopkins’ March 2012 announcement that HIV rates for US Black urban women are five times higher than previously believed. Ladies, the HIV hot spots for us are Washington, DC, New York City, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore and Newark. Stay protected.

But, there are bright spots. The epidemic continues to decline. Also, our teens in the US are getting the safe sex message, as they are in certain African countries such as Uganda. So, there are places where the young aren’t taking as many sexual risks as they used to.

Also, earlier this summer, SuzyKnew pointed out that we now have new products to help us protect our sexual health like the new in-home version of OraQuick® allowing you to quickly take an HIV test in the privacy of your own home and the anti-retroviral Truvada® that the FDA just approved for preventive use, by taking daily.  So, if you suspect your man may be seeing men – and he refuses to use a condom or take an HIV test – you can still protect yourself from HIV. (That is while you work on getting a new man…smile)

Stay healthy and sexy. Let’s see what the 20th AIDS Conference brings.



OraQuick, An In-Home HIV Test, Is Approved


Ladies, have you always wanted to take an HIV/AIDS test but just couldn’t muster up the courage or the time? Well, finally you can take an HIV test in the privacy of your own home and get the results in only 20-40 minutes. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved OraSure’s in-home version of its lab diagnostic for HIV testing, OraQuick.

In many countries, large percentages of people pass on the HIV virus to their partners because they do not know that they are infected.  In the US, where 20% of the population is unaware of their HIV status, there are many reasons people don’t get tested. These reasons include not wanting to discuss the topic with their provider as well as providers not offering the test.  Also, not everyone has a regular doctor, and there are many people who don’t want to be seen entering a clinic to get tested.  Not to mention the cost and time factors that are involved. In the US, HIV infection among Black women in large cities is the same as it is many African countries. AIDS is largest cause of death for Black women, and many do not know they’re infected.

OraQuick is an oral test (no needles and blood work here!) and is expected to retail around $40, with a launch date set in October 2012. Its availability along with Truvada®, an antiretroviral that can now be used for prevention, has given women more ammunition to protect themselves against infection and from infecting others.

Be healthy and be sexy!



Is Truvada® the Faithful Black and Asian Woman’s Protection Against HIV?

Ladies, you know the statistics: Our communities have been hit hard by HIV, and we as women are in many instances more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS than men. Whether you live in New York, Jo’Burg, Lagos, London, Manila, or L.A you know that you are more at risk of getting HIV from your man than white women even if you’re faithful to him! Many of our men are not truthful about their Kaoreke ladies or the other women… or other men… they have on side, leaving us vulnerable to many sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.

I’ve seen faithful women in the US, Africa and Asia fall victim to AIDS due to their partner’s lack of faithfulness.

But, has our time come? Do we now have a weapon to protect our lives when we can’t get our men to use condoms. Truvada®, a pill currently used to treat people with HIV, could prevent infections among those at high risk, according to recent studies. Two groups would be targeted for this new use, including  couples where one person is infected and the other isn’t. This means if your man is on the low down or unfaithful you could protect yourself.  It also means that if you’re HIV positive, you can greatly reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to your partner. The regimen would require daily use to be effective, which means taking it every day. It can be 90 percent; but, in the real world, it has not been more on the level of 44 to 73 percent effective.

Truvada®, manufactured by Gilead, is up before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval as a preventive treatment for HIV/AIDS. Ladies, stay tuned for more on this drug. It could be our chance to take more control over our lives – literally!