Thursday, December 1, 2011

Get tested, get treatment, Bluegrass HIV Coalition encourages

Today is World AIDS Day and health advocates are asking Kentuckians to get tested and get treatment.

Hundreds of Kentuckians are diagnosed with AIDS each year, reports Mary Meehan of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Minority populations are hit particularly hard, with black men nearly 10 times more likely to die of AIDS than non-Hispanic white men. Black women are almost 23 more times more likely to die from the infections, compared to non-Hispanic white women.

Though people are still dying, AIDS is not a widely-discussed disease, in part because of its past association with homosexual activity. Mark Johnson, member of the Bluegrass HIV Coalition, said AIDS can be hard for people to talk about.

In addition, the infection is often seen as treatable, in part because of people like Magic Johnson, who has had the infection more than 20 years but is still in good health. What people don't see "is the often expensive regimen of drugs that is needed to keep the worst of the disease at bay, the side effects of those medicines or the ultimate end of what is still an incurable disease," Meehan reports. (Read more)

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