Thursday, December 1st marks the 23rd anniversary of World AIDS Day, commemorating the 25 million people around the world who have died from the disease since the first reported cases in 1981.
credit :: www.worldaidsday.org
There have been significant treatment advances in the 30 years since the first cases emerged and the number of people with HIV who get AIDS has decreased over time because of advances in medical care and ART. Still, more than 16,000 people with AIDS die each year.
Public health care professionals and health care providers say getting an HIV test is the first step to finding out if you have HIV and getting medical care needed to stay healthy longer.
"If you're a gay or bisexual man who is sexually active, ask your doctor for HIV testing every six months," AIDS Foundation President and CEO David Ernesto Munar told ChicagoPride.com. "If you are living with HIV, there is a great amount of hope for a long and healthy future if you take steps to take care of yourself and your partners."
According to the CDC, approximately 50,000 people are newly infected every year. African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV - while representing approximately 14 percent of the population, they account for approximately 44 percent of new infections. HIV is the third leading cause of death for African American men and women age 35-44.
"Regular medical care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS can dramatically improve their health and extend their longevity," reminded Munar. "Find an expert HIV doctor and seek services from an array of local AIDS organizations that can link you to others who are living with HIV and can answer your questions."
The Minnesota AIDS Project is one of a number of advocacy organizations and healthcare providers in Minneapolis helping individuals live with HIV. For more information visit PrideAlive, OutFrontMN.