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Do you know the person you KNOW with HIV?

December 1st is World Aids Day. Founded in 1988, this year marked the 30th anniversary of its existence. This is a day to raise awareness to AIDS and support those who are currently infected as well as those who lost their lives to the disease. An increase in awareness through education and resources should decrease the number of new cases of HIV diagnosed yearly. The theme for World Aids Day 2018 is Know Your Status.

According to the CDC, in 2015 an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States had HIV and of those people, about 15%, or 1 in 7, did not know they were infected. In 2017, 38,739 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. It is important to know that even though HIV and AID are used interchangeably, the two are not the same.

HIV - human immunodeficiency virus is a disease that attacks the immune system or specifically the CD4 (T cells) which makes the body not able to mount up a response to fight off infections.

AIDS – Progression of the HIV disease into the most severe form if left untreated or undiagnosed.

As stated earlier, 1 in 7 Americans are affected with HIV and do not know it. Which means they can be participating in activities that also spread the disease to others without knowing it. It is important that everyone get tested at least once and more often if you are engaging in high-risk behavior. Remember that HIV is transmitted through certain body fluid such as blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. It is NOT spread by hugging, hand shaking, social (closed mouth kisses), saliva, tears, sweat or insects such as mosquitos.

You can request testing from your primary care provider or local health department.

You can also find a testing site near you by

• calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636),

• visiting, or

• texting your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948).

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