LAMAR, COUNTY (WDAM) - Dr. Lara Otaigbe, of Southern Medical Care in Hattiesburg, is speaking out for National Minority Health Month.
“The most common misconception is that people do not care,” Otaigbe said. “The truth is that most people in minority communities do care about their health, but there are various obstacles in their path, such as access to quality health care, maintaining a relationship with a primary care provider, which I think is key to primary health care.”
According to her, Black women in Forrest County are contracting HIV at a high rate, and it’s not getting enough attention.
“I think that’s something that needs to be addressed on a widespread basis with education and regular screening,” Otaigbe said.
Otaigbe wants to get the word out and raise awareness about the issue.
“It does not need to be a life sentence,” Otaigbe said. “It is treatable, but more importantly it is preventable.”
She says the ways to prevent HIV start with education.
“Clearly, education is key,” Otaigbe said. “It’s for people to recognize and understand that this disease is out there it does not need to be a life sentence it is treatable.”
The next prevention is changing your actions.
“Another is behavior modification,” Otaigbe said. “Obviously, use of a condom at every encounter.”
She recommends you should get tested regularly and consider PReP, a pill that helps to prevent the disease.