The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia

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ATLANTA — Kim Wilson is a woman on a mission. She has been an invaluable resource to Baptist churches in the Atlanta area and across Georgia for at least two decades. But for the past five years, she has been one of the state’s greatest proponents for sexual abstinence. Specifically, she wants to wipe out the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia.

The general public doesn’t hear much about AIDS in America today. We generally know that the HIV/AIDS virus is still having devastating affects in Africa and many third world countries around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the most serious HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world. In 2013, an estimated 24.7 million people were living with HIV, accounting for 71 percent of the global total. In the same year there were an estimated 1.5 million new HIV infections and 1.1 million AIDS-related deaths.

However, HIV/AIDS is still a serious problem in the United States. The first cases of what would later become known as AIDS were reported in the U.S. in June of 1981. Anyone can Google “Famous People Who Died of AIDS” and find a formidable list of well-know actors, models, authors, and politicians who died of this rampaging physical malignancy.

More than 25 years ago Los Angeles star Magic Johnson stunned the world when he announced he was retiring from professional basketball at age 32 because he was HIV positive. Many have falsely assumed that since he is still alive that AIDS is not as bad as once thought. However, Johnson received antiretroviral therapy before the virus became full blown AIDS.

The tragic truth

The tragic truth is there are more than 1.2 million people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. and more than 700,000 people with AIDS have died since the beginning of the epidemic.

The problem is significantly worst among black and Hispanic individuals and Atlanta is one of the cities where the problem rages. In fact, Georgia is second among states with HIV diagnoses and Atlanta ranks number 8 among U.S. cities in regards to the rate of HIV infections.

So, while HIV is not a leading cause of death for Americans overall, it remains a leading cause of death for certain age groups – in 2014, HIV was the 8th leading cause of death for those ages 25-34, and 9th for those ages 35-44.

Kim Wilson, the founder of the Loretta Johnson Global Abstinence Project and Movement, is a part of her organization, God’s Active People (GAP Ministries) that she established 25 years ago. She reports, “Despite Atlanta being a city that is leading the way with African American businesses, philanthropy, entertainment, and politics, there is one aspect that is tearing the city apart – its HIV rate. It has gotten so bad that it is a public health emergency.”

Wilson laments the fact that over 70 percent of black children and 50 percent of Hispanic children are born outside of marriage. And with single mothers dying so young, she elaborated, “We are now creating generations of motherless and fatherless children with destructive behavior and no one to love or take good care of them.”

Best AIDS prevention

Wilson continued, “Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the HIV/Aids rates in the downtown area, are as bad as some third-world African countries, according to Atlanta Daily World.

“The CDC estimates that one in 51 Georgians will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. Dr. Carlos del Rio, co-director of Emory University’s Center for AIDS Research, explained, ‘Downtown Atlanta is as bad as Zimbabwe or Harare or Durban.’”

The Mayo Clinic offers several suggestions to prevent HIV infection including, safe sex (use of contraceptives), use of the drug Truvada, inform sexual partners if you have HIV, etc. However, Kim Wilson offers the absolute best and only sure course for the prevention of HIV infection – ABSTINENCE!

Wilson specifies, “You can’t tell who’s infected with HIV by how they look. It takes an average of eight years for symptoms of AIDS to develop after a person is infected with HIV. So, even people who don’t look or feel sick can give your AIDS.

Wilson has written a book titled The Abstinence Handbook: for Women and Girls. It focuses not just on why one should not have sex before marriage, but on how to avoid having sex before marriage. The book gives effective and successfully proven ways to practice abstinence.

Please watch the video in this link and you will find ways that you can become an advocate for abstinence, which is God’s way not only to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, but His way to honor His precepts and prepare young couples for a blessed and Christ-exalting marriage.

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