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ADH recognizes World AIDS Day
Little Rock, Ark. – World AIDS Day is recognized each year on December 1 and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have passed away.
HIV weakens a person’s immune system by eliminating the cells that fight disease and infection. The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most severe stage of HIV and occurs when a person’s immune system is severely damaged.
It’s been 40 years since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36,801 people in the U.S. received an HIV diagnosis in 2019, which has decreased 9% since 2015. There are 6,678 Arkansans living with HIV, and there were 276 newly diagnosed cases in 2019 according to the 2019 HIV Surveillance report.
The HIV virus is transmitted through an exchange of blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. No effective cure exists; however, with proper medical care HIV can be controlled. In the United States, most people with HIV do not transition to AIDS because taking medication as prescribed stops the progression of the disease. Modern medicine has extended the lifespan of people living with HIV and eliminated the likelihood of transmission.
CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. If you do things that might increase your likelihood of getting HIV, you should get tested more often. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing, such as every 3 to 6 months.
If you would like HIV prevention tools like condoms, please visit your nearest Local Health Unit. Furthermore, if you would like to get tested and KNOW your status NOW, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider, or visit your Local Health Unit. For health unit locations or more information about HIV-AIDS, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.