Several events are being held around the state today in observance of World AIDS Day.
Organizers say it's an important reminder that the virus has not gone away and there is still a crucial need for more research, increased awareness and improved educational efforts. Doctor Ron Valdiserri is the Director of the federal Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. He says strides in diagnosis and treatment have been made over the last three decades, allowing some people with HIV and AIDS to lead a near normal life.
Valdiserri estimates there are 35 million people around the world living with HIV. 950 new cases of HIV were reported in Ohio last year. The rate of new HIV diagnoses remained stable in Ohio between 2009 and 2012, but rose in 2013. And trends suggest increases in new infections among people ages 20 and 29. The HIV virus is typically spread through unprotected sex or sharing contaminated needles. And with an estimated one in five people with HIV unaware they have the infection, Bill Hardy with the AIDS Resource Center Ohio says people should get a blood test.
Free HIV testing is being offered at some public health clinics today.The Centers for Disease Control says the life expectancy of an HIV positive person increased by 40 percent between 1987 and 2013 to 50 years of age. In Ohio, there were 950 new H-I-V cases reported in 2014.