JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Jefferson County HIV Prevention Network is recognizing World AIDS Day with a week long effort to make sure people in know their HIV status.
Testing is the only way to verify one’s HIV Status, and to help with the process, JCDH has been been offering free testing at a number of locations this week.
The White House recently issued its 2016 Progress Report for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. Among the highlights:
- Fewer people are being diagnosed with HIV.
- 87 % of those who are HIV Positive know it.
- 3 in 4 people diagnosed are linked to care within 1 month.
- Virus is suppressed in 55% of those with HIV.
The report points out that the “although diagnosis dropped overall, progress in reducing the diagnosis disparity experienced in the Southern United States stalled.”
Kyle Pugh is the Director of the Magic City Wellness Center (http://www.magiccitywellnesscenter.org/). The organization provides a safe, welcoming environment for wellness and medical care for the LGBTQ community.
“Sex education in Alabama is almost nonexistent. We’ve got to figure out as either parents, church leaders, community leaders that we can have these conversations,” Pugh said. “If we are not having them in the school we have to have them at some point. We need the future generations to have the education they need to make sure they stay safe and that they do everything they can to prevent HIV infection.”
Spreading awareness of the importance on knowing one’s HIV status is the goal of the Jefferson County HIV Prevention Network’s “Pastors versus Personalities” basketball game commemorating World Aids Day at George Washington Carver High School on Friday.
Doors open at 5 p.m., with tip-off an hour later, and free confidential testing.