World AIDS Awareness Day

World AIDS Day tries to get People Aware

 Millions of people around the world are infected with the HIV virus…which causes aids. But there continues to be a lack of understanding about the disease. 

Tuesday was a day set aside to raise awareness about aids.

This years theme is “Getting to zero.”

The goal of World Aids Day is to help people be better informed about this disease, reduce new HIV infections, and also cut the number of aids related deaths.

Linda Van Etta, MD, “Currently we have approximately 1.2 million individuals living in the united states with HIV; approximately 12 percent of those are diagnosed, but the majority are diagnosed. The unfortunate thing for me is, we still have about 50,000 new cases each year in the united states.,” said Dr. Linda Van Etta, Infectious Disease Specialist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. 

Out of those 50,000 people diagnosed with new cases annually, around 20,000 do not find out they have it until it becomes full blown aids.

To help prevent this from happening, experts suggest any sexually active person should get tested at least once a year.

“The fortunate thing is with our medications, we can now actually restore them to good health. And our regiments now are most commonly one pill a day for our patients,” said Dr. Van Etta.

If you or someone you know is living with HIV/aids, there are support groups in the Northland, that can help you cope with having the disease.

“We have the Minnesota aids project, which is state wide, but we have an office here in Duluth. And we have a counselor who comes and assists,” said Dr. Van Etta. 

Even though aids is now treatable, its hopes continued focus on prevention can help cut infection totals even more.

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