Last month, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health examined the effect that HIV conspiracy theories has had over our society. And from this study, the researchers state: “Rumors may encourage behaviors that appear ignorant, but the source of conspiracy theory rumors about the origins of HIV/AIDS within the African American community…is not ignorance, but distrust combined with high social anxiety…

The sources of the trust gap may be connected to the lack of sustained and effective funding for and attention to the general health of African Americans, the history of health professions’ abuses against African Americans, and the persistence of HIV/ AIDS among African Americans (as the focus group data suggest, some African Americans see the very mention of high infection rates among African Americans as ‘blaming,’ which reinforces the sense of distrust).”

But while these theories are not to be taken seriously, for the most part, it is important to understand that even though HIV prevalence is on the decline it is no reason to celebrate.

In a 2013 report, the CDC said, “Early initiation and adherence to antiretroviral therapy has substantial medical benefits for HIV-positive persons and prevention benefits by reducing HIV transmission to HIV-negative partners up to 96 percent.”

The report goes on to say, “However, because HIV infection causes immune suppression, which in turn results in fatal comorbidities such as cancers and opportunistic infections, all-cause mortality likely is a better indicator of the actual mortality experience than cause-specific mortality.”

“It’s like the big bullet we’ve been waiting for to stop new infections. I’m proud that here at Frederick County Health Department, we have actually been trying to educate everyone that comes in for HIV testing that if they are putting themselves at risk on a regular basis, this is a good option for them,” said Deborah Anne, an AIDS certified registered nurse at the Frederick County Health Department.