Sunday marked the 25th annual World AIDS Day.
WHIV cases on the rise, nationwide, health officials urge testing and education to stop new cases from happening. Jerry Kenney of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs reports.
17,000 people in Ohio are known to be HIV positive, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people with HIV don’t even know they’re infected, so the problem is much worse. Medical professionals are still pinning their hopes on developing an HIV prevention drug, if not an outright cure, but Bill Hardy with AIDS Resource Center Ohio science has come a long way in managing the disease.
“With the treatment we have now, there’s a very good chance that HIV positive Americans will have a near normal life expectancy, and if we get them into care and get the virus under control, the chance or likelihood of transmitting the virus is almost zero, it’s reduced by up to 96%.”
But getting that treatment has not been easy for patients. A Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that 30% of HIV infected people are uninsured. Hardy says he hopes the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion will fill the gap in services. Meanwhile, he says awareness is key. Get tested. ARC Ohio provides more than 4,000 free HIV tests every year.