Translate this page

World Aids Day to promote awareness and education of HIV infection


Awareness gap means only 25 percent of Americans with HIV are receiving effective treatment


Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Issue 48, Volume 16.
Dr. Sam Ho, M.D.
Special to the Valley News


Twenty-one years ago, on Nov. 7, 1991,†America†was jolted with the news that basketball legend Magic Johnson had contracted HIV and would immediately retire from the sport.

Almost immediately, Johnson began taking the antiretroviral drug AZT, and his health quickly improved. Just three months later, Johnson returned to basketball to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, where his performance earned him the MVP award.

Johnsonís fans and supporters were delighted by his triumphant return. And through Johnsonís experience, mainstream†America†began to understand that HIV infection was no longer an automatic death sentence, but a largely treatable, chronic condition.

We are fortunate that during the past two decades there has been great progress in the treatment and care of people living with HIV and AIDS.†With early detection and increasingly effective treatments, Johnsonís story is now just one of many high-profile examples of how people can manage their HIV and live long, productive lives.

But while proper treatment for people with HIV has become much more available and effective, only 25 percent of Americans with HIV are receiving it.

At the same time, people born after AIDS first emerged in 1981 are now most at risk of becoming infected with HIV. This sad fact highlights how important awareness and education is as we mark World AIDS Day Dec. 1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV infection rates are increasing for Americans between Advertisement
Advertisement for Carrington Home Loans
[ Carrington Home Loans ]
13 and 30, and most of the new HIV infections reported in this country involve people under 30.

It is so important to ensure that all people – especially young people – are aware and educated about HIV/AIDS prevention and the availability of effective treatments.

Let World AIDS Day remind us that about 56,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year, according to the CDC, and that more than 14,000 Americans with AIDS die each year. The CDC estimates that nearly 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, and that about one in five donít know they have the virus.

Regularly testing people of most at risk for HIV – and then providing antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients – dramatically reduces the number of new infections.

Preventing HIV is not complicated. If youíre sexually active, get tested. Donít use IV drugs or share needles. Abstain or practice safer sex. With preventive care, patients and their health care providers can fight and manage this disease and slow its spread.

As was the case with Magic Johnson and other courageous Americans 20 years ago, we canít allow todayís more effective treatments to make us complacent or ambivalent, or to lessen our resolve to find a cure and an AIDS-free generation.

To learn more or to find a place near you to get tested, visit†www.actagainstaids.org.

Dr. Sam Ho, M.D., is the chief medical officer for United Healthcare.


 

0 comments


arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!
 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Crown Hill Pizza





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login