Around ASF Blog
Volume 1 / Entry 26
October 18, 2012
AIDS is a treatable disease. Elton John uttered these words earlier this week at the 11th annual “An Enduring Vision” benefit for his eponymous AIDS Foundation.
I couldn’t agree more. However, AIDS is only treatable if you know you are infected with HIV. That’s where the disconnect lies in this country. Yes, you can live a long, healthy and productive life with HIV. But not unless you know you have it.
The chances of survival are greatly increased if antiretroviral therapy is begun before the virus has time to replicate. Unfortunately, because of the cavalier attitude toward HIV and AIDS in many youth today, they aren’t getting tested as often as they should. They didn’t live through the decade of death and destruction caused by AIDS. They didn’t lose friends and family members.
To them, AIDS is a treatable disease.
Back in June, ASF launched the “Take the Initiative. Take the Test.” campaign to raise funds for HIV testing in Orange County. Well, we’ve raised over $88,000. Now that we can pay for it, we want to offer residents of Orange County the chance to come and take a free, rapid HIV test. It takes about 20 minutes to receive results, doesn’t involve needles and includes pre- and post-test counseling.
We especially want to reach those populations at high risk for contracting HIV. We would consider it a great success if half of all 20-29 year olds got tested. If we could also reach half of the Hispanic population in Orange County, that would be spectacular. These two groups have the highest incidence of new HIV infections in Orange County over the past two years. If we are to stop the spread of HIV in Orange County, we need to start here.
If you can’t get to a testing center, home HIV testing kits have just become available. They are priced at around $39.99. A small price to pay for peace of mind and/or keeping your AIDS treatable.
And if AIDS is going to remain a treatable disease and run its course as an epidemic, we need to normalize HIV testing in doctor’s offices. It should be routine. It should be offered to everyone. Annual testing would stop the spread of HIV in it’s tracks.
Thanks for reading!
Director of Communications and Public Relations