By the Chicago Department of Public Health @ChiPublicHealth
oday, African American women are impacted greater by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity. Preventing
HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is one of the top priorities outlined in Healthy Chicago, the City's public health agenda for making Chicago the healthiest City in the nation.
In response to this, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched Take Charge. Take the Test., a public education media campaign to promote the importance of testing, treatment and care. This on-going campaign will also work with community organizations and venues that serve African American women to encourage HIV testing and safer sex practices.
HIV diagnosis in Chicago fell from 1,601 to 1,092, representing a 32% decrease. The decline is observed for all race/ethnicity groups, with a 29% decline among African Americans, 42% among Whites and 32% among Hispanics. 231 females were diagnosed with HIV in 2009 and of those 81% were African Americans females. Closing the gap in this health disparity is an important priority toward reducing the number of overall new HIV infections to zero. As part of our comprehensive efforts to pre-
vent HIV, Take Charge. Take the Test. encour- ages African American women to get tested for HIV and gain access to HIV care and treatment if they are living with the virus. The goal? To empower women to take control of their health and remind them they have the power to take charge of their health including protecting themselves from HIV through testing. The cam- paign also encourages women to openly talk
Team to End AIDS F
By David Ernesto Munar
or nine years I've run for a cause to advance the fight of HIV/AIDS.
As a participant of the Team to
End AIDS, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's endurance program, I've helped raise thousands of dollars for critically important HIV pre- vention, care and advocacy pro- grams in our community. Why run?
with their partners about HIV and safer sex methods.
By knowing your HIV status, you can take
charge of your health and protect yourself and partners. If you are HIV negative, you can proactively stay HIV-negative by making sure you are having protected sex. If your living with HIV, you can live a long healthy life and prevent transmission to others. Receiving HIV treatment and care improves that person's health, and dramatically reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others. To get more infor- mation about HIV in the City of Chicago, where to go for testing, treatment or other resources call 1-800 AID-AIDS or visit the City's website at www.cityofchicago.org/health
. You can also connect with CDPH at www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth
or on Twitter @ChiPublicHealth. You can learn more about Take Charge. Take the Test. at www.hivtest.org/takecharge
City of Chicago Helps African American Women Claim their Power Against HIV Between 2003 and 2009 the number of new
Anyone who runs regularly gets asked this question, “Why don't you run? And there's never an easy answer.
I'm not particularly a gifted run-
ner. Sure, when I'm in the zone of a training run or race, I imagine myself shoulder-to-shoulder with the elite pack of marathoners chas- ing a police escort toward the finish line. But, in reality, I'm a moderate runner. I sweat too much and my muscles cramp up too easily.
And running takes time. There's the packing and staging to make sure you have the shoes, clothes, water and other amenities to squeeze a run into the daily routine. I started running as a freshman in high school on a whim, perhaps because I had no aptitude for team sports. And being 30 pounds over- weight meant the other teens snick- ered behind my back at my athletic aspirations. That first season on the cross-country team, I finished each
training dead last and well behind the rest.
But I preserved, lost weight and turning into a moderately success- ful high school athlete. I even earned a letterman jacket, the ulti- mate high school status symbol of my day.
More than 20 years later, the allure endures. In adolescence, I ran from the taunting and torment of being a fat, gay kid with little ability to change my circum-
stances. Running gave me purpose, a mission and a way to shape my world, if only during the brief, adrenaline-filled moments of com- petition. Today, I chase transcendence in new ways. Whether it's a leisurely six-mile job or 26-mile race, each time I lace up it's a new perform- ance. Unlike so many pursuits, each run has a distinct beginning, middle and end. Each challenge is mine to strategize and overcome. The exertion soothes my emo- tions and calms my thinking. Yes, there's such a thing as runners' high, which showers me with a sense of unending possibilities. But there's also enormous satisfaction in having some degree of mastery over my physical being, a lesson learned in adolescence. When you live with HIV, you surrender some confidence in our dominion over your own body. Starting ARV therapy and achiev- ing maximum viral suppression helps, but you never really lose the sense that your survival and destiny is largely beyond control. Running is my booster therapy. It might not make my meds more potent (hey, who knows?), but in a small way, I gain back some control over my body by putting it through the paces of the training and com- petition to strive toward my person- al best.
David Ernesto Munar is presi- dent and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Register today at TEAM2ENDAIDS.com
to get fit and help change lives.
6 CHICAGO DEFENDER / APRIL 11-17, 2012
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