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North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Commemorate World AIDS Day By Learning Your Status

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2018 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, a global health observation that offers an opportunity for people to show support for those living with HIV/AIDS and to remember those who fought against the disease. The yearly day of recognition is important as it reminds the community, healthcare providers and organizations that there is still a need to increase awareness, combat stigma and improve education to continue fighting against HIV and AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.1 million people in the U.S. had HIV at the end of 2015. One out of seven people living with HIV did not know they were infected. The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. In honor of World AIDS Day, multiple North Central Health District (NCHD) locations will offer free HIV testing and education. No appointment is necessary to receive free testing at these locations and times (times include all business hours unless otherwise stated):

  • Baldwin County Health Department: Nov. 30 and Dec. 3
  • Crawford County Health Department: Nov. 30
  • Hancock County Health Department: Dec. 3
  • Houston County Health Department: Nov. 30 and Dec. 3
  • Jasper County Health Department: Nov. 30, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Jones County Health Department: Nov. 29
  • Macon-Bibb County Health Department: Dec. 3
  • Peach County Health Department: Dec. 3, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Twiggs County Health Department: Nov. 30 and Dec. 3
  • Washington County Health Department: Nov. 30 and Dec 3.
  • Wilkinson County Health Department: Dec. 3

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a disease transmitted during the exchange of certain body fluids. The virus is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact or by sharing needles, syringes or other equipment associated with injection drug use.

Though there is no cure for HIV, a person can reduce the risk of transmission in a number of ways. Using condoms properly every time during sexual contact and reducing the number of sex partners can reduce the chance of infection. A person who avoids injecting drugs has a lower risk than a person who does. People who inject drugs can reduce the risk of HIV infection by not sharing needles. If a person is at very high risk, he or she should talk to their healthcare provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which can help prevent the transmission of HIV. Everyone at risk of HIV infection is advised to get tested regularly. Those with a higher risk should get tested more often.

“With all the advances in medicine, AIDS is no longer a death sentence,” said Dale Wrigley, Director of HOPE Center, NCHD’s Ryan White-funded HIV/AIDS clinic. “We can treat those living with HIV and AIDS, but we need to focus on prevention. Education is the key to preventing the spread of HIV, but we need to destigmatize having those conversations if we’re going to make any progress.”

NCHD is committed to fighting the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the community. In addition to providing HIV and STD testing, each of NCHD’s county health departments offers STD treatment, counseling and education. All services are completely confidential and administered by our expert team of licensed nurses and counselors. For more information on NCHD’s HIV and STD services, visit NCHD52.org/STD.

For more information on HIV, visit cdc.gov/hiv.

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