HIV, an initialism that is short for the human immunodeficiency viruses, are two specialized kinds of retroviruses known for causing AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, in HIV-infected people over a span of several years in most cases. The two viruses mentioned above specifically belong to the species Lentivirus.
According to AIDSVu – it’s pronounced AIDS-view – which is collectively put on by the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, the Center for AIDS Research at the same school, and Gilead Sciences, Inc., the state of Louisiana ranks fifth out of every state in the United States in terms of the prevalence of people diagnosed with AIDS, per CBS News.
Although There’s Consistently High Rates of New HIV Infection Detection Rates in the Sugar State, There’s Good News This Year
States that are hit the hardest by HIV and AIDS are almost always those that don’t have as much or as many resources allocated to programs that prevent the spread of HIV. This also holds true for states in which talking about HIV, AIDS, and the activities of the populations who are objectively at the greatest risk of catching either of the two Lentoviruses is stigmatized and thoroughly frowned upon.
According to a recent release of official state statistics from the Louisiana Department of Health, which came out two days ago, on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, the number of new diagnoses of people infected with either – or both, for that matter – of the human immunodeficiency viruses dropped to a 13-year low.
What Has Made HIV Detection Rates So Low This Year?
The last time that the number of new HIV infection diagnoses was as low as it was in 2018 – there were just 989 new diagnoses throughout all of Louisiana from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31 of the same year – was in 2006. In 2005, there were only 964 cases discovered in the entirety of Louisiana.
It’s important to remember that Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in recorded history, wrought havoc on the states that border the Gulf of Mexico – particularly Louisiana, though.
According to the United States Department of Commerce’s NOAA, short for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Katrina carried out some $125 billion in total estimated damages to the state of Louisiana alone!
Although Katrina hit Louisiana in August 2005, the state was still majorly impacted by the Category-5 hurricane throughout all of 2006.
As such, it was difficult for physicians to figure out just how many new cases of HIV popped up in each of the two years – 2005 and 2006 – because of the obvious societal damages caused by Hurricane Katrina. Although there’s no way to truly tell, the incidence rate of new HIV cases throughout Louisiana was likely higher than the recorded counts of 964 and 982, respectively. With this in mind, 2018’s HIV transmission rates in Louisiana were likely the lowest they’ve been in the past three decades, if not longer than that.
More People Seek Treatment for HIV Faster Than Ever Before
Although the transmission of HIV to new carriers of the pair of deadly viruses will ultimately kill those who are infected, seeking medical help within the first 30 days of having the disease transmitted to new carriers is said to significantly increase infected people’s chances of surviving, as well as substantially decrease the likelihood that people unknowingly transmit HIV to new sexual partners.
What to Know About Getting Tested for HIV
The only way to know if someone has HIV is to submit one’s self to an HIV test. Check out these tidbits about getting an HIV test:
- Getting treated upon being diagnosed cuts the chance of getting serious illnesses stemming from HIV by over 50 percent.
- Unfortunately, roughly one-quarter of all United States citizens who have HIV are thought to be undiagnosed.
- A preventative treatment strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can reduce the person’s chances – the person who consumes the PrEP medication regularly, that is – of getting HIV by an estimated 75 to 90-plus percent.