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Knowing One's Status: National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

Dry blood spot test (for HIV) on an infant. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death for those who are infected with HIV.

With it being National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is important knowing one’s HIV status, especially with the recent case of TB at the University of Mississippi which was announced yesterday by MSDH.
According to AIDSVu.org, youth accounted for almost a quarter of new HIV diagnoses where the ages varied from 14-24 in 2015. In the same year, eight out of the 10 highest ranked states with HIV diagnoses were Southern states.
In 2014, Jackson, Mississippi was ranked the fourth highest infected HIV metropolitan city in the U.S. per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The city also acquires 50,000 new HIV diagnoses each year.
HIV is a disease that weakens the immune system, and those who are infected with HIV have a higher risk of contracting TB.
TB primarily affects the lungs but if developed into TB disease, it can target kidneys, the spine or the brain, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). TB is also known as an opportunistic infection (OI), which targets those with weaker immune systems. If one contracts both HIV and TB, it’s called a coinfection.
According to HHS, a coinfection of TB and HIV is common worldwide, and they recommend those with HIV should be tested for a TB infection.
The University is cooperating with MSDH in testing over 500 students after yesterday’s confirmed infection of one student with TB.
For more information on TB at The University of Mississippi, read MSDH Finds Case of Tuberculosis at the University of Mississippi.

By Talbert Toole, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at talbert.toole@hottytoddy.com.

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