HIV prevention is paramount

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I am writing to make people aware of National HIV Testing Day June 27. This year’s theme is “Take the Test, Take Control.”�


Almost one is five individuals do not know they are infected. A study conducted in 2004-05 found the estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV for men was 1 in 53, and for females it was 1 in 141.


In 2003, Washington County reported 66 individuals living with HIV. In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of individuals living with HIV in Washington County increased to 106, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Pennsylvania ranks seventh-highest among the 50 states in reported AIDS cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In spite of education, awareness and progress made in the battle against HIV infection, the numbers of new HIV cases continue to be too high, with approximately 50,000 new diagnoses each year.


As a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner student, I believe that the focus on prevention is paramount. Being an educated consumer, knowing your risks and getting tested is a critical first step in taking control and responsibility for your own health. Early treatment with antiretroviral therapy decreases AIDS-related conditions and mortality.



Michelle Cohen


Washington


HIV prevention is paramount

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