Doctor Talks About National Black HIV and Aids Awareness Day

STAUNTON, VA -- Today is National Black HIV Aids Awareness day.
It's a way for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the word out about testing and prevention.

One in 16 African American men and one in 32 women have HIV or aids, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Doctor Doug Larsen in Staunton says that if somebody calls the Health Department and wants to get tested, they will be helped as soon as possible.

Often, that means making an appointment the same day. Dr. Larsen also said you may have to make an appointment more than once.

It may take weeks for HIV to show up in someone's bloodstream.
Dr. Larson says that just last year, the Shenandoah Valley area had 10 new aids cases and 14 HIV positive cases.

He says that number is low out of almost 286,000 people who have been diagnosed.

He says treatment is much better now, compared to 30 years ago.

"It was pretty much a death sentence, people were gonna die because we didn't have treatment. We still do not have a vaccination that can prevent HIV. However, the medications that have been developed over the last 25 or 30 years have become much much more effective," Dr. Larsen, Health Director, Central Shenandoah Health District.

If you are thinking about getting tested, call your local health department.

Department of Health employees in Harrisonburg said all you have to do is call and make an appointment.

If you are worried about paying for it, It is a free service provided by the health department.

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