Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation
On December 1, Suffolk County joins people throughout the world in observance of World AIDS Day to honor those living with HIV; the families, friends, caregivers, and communities who support them; and those who have lost their lives to AIDS. Three decades after the first cases of AIDs were reported, it is important for communities to recognize that HIV remains a major health problem in the U.S. and that prevention is key to ending the AIDs epidemic.
What You Need to Know About HIV/AIDs
· About 14 percent of all people living with HIV in the United States don't know they have the virus.
· On November 25, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that less than a third of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2011 had their virus under control through effective care and treatment.
· While the number of new HIV diagnoses has remained relatively stable from 2008-2012, the numbers are still too high, especially among gay and bisexual men, blacks/African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos.
· According to the New York State Department of Health, as of December 31, 2010, approximately 5,900 Long Island residents were living with HIV/AIDs.
What Can I Do?
· Be tested. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and that those at higher risk get tested at least once a year. Rapid tests and home testing kits are available online or from drugstores.
· If you are living with HIV, it’s important to get and stay in HIV medical care, which includes taking medication that can reduce the presence of the HIV virus in the body to very low levels, a state known as "viral suppression." For people living with HIV, achieving viral suppression can improve health, increase life expectancy, and reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to others.
· The AIDs Institute of New York State encourages people who are at high risk but do not have HIV to be aware of new approaches to HIV prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). For more information on how to obtain PrEP or PEP, visit New York State’s Department of Health website at www.health.ny.gov
Did You Know? Just 30 percent of people with HIV are successfully keeping their virus under control through treatment; 70 percent are not!
“Bending the Curve” is Governor Cuomo’s plan to move New York State closer to the end of the AIDs epidemic. The goal is to reduce the number of new HIV infections in New York to 750 from an estimated 3,000 by 2020. You can help by following the recommendations above and spreading the word to your friends and family.