World AIDS Day.
Each December 1st we celebrate the lives of friends and family impacted by HIV/AIDS.
The prognosis today for someone diagnosed as HIV+ is much better than it was 30 years ago but we still have much ground to gain in the battle against this virus.
Each year new and better treatments are found but still no cure.
Education, prevention, and testing are still our best hopes for stopping new infections.
Locally we are in the midst of an "epidemic" of new infections in young people.
Over twenty-five young people under the age of twenty-five have been diagnosed locally this year with HIV. For those of us who are either impacted directly by HIV, have a loved one with HIV, or work in prevention efforts this is just devastating news.
Prevention efforts have long focused on issues of how HIV is transmitted but certainly issues such as mental illness, homophobia/transphobia, and substance abuse continue to plague the LGBT community and contribute to new infections each year. Finding new and effective ways to address these underlying issues is as vital as continuing to educate how the virus is transmitted.
My hope is that one day I can write a blog on World AIDS Day and report that a cure has been found or that there have been no new infections.
Each of us can help a little at a time to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
FREE/RAPID 20 minute HIV testing is available at AIDS CARE.
For more information please visit: www.acrochester.org