AIDS still a serious health issue - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

AIDS still a serious health issue

June 27, 2005

Albany-- Georgia is 8th in the nation in the number of reported AIDS cases, and that's why Southwest Georgia health officials are making it easier to get tested for H.I.V., before the disease becomes full blown AIDS.

As part of National HIV Testing Day, and free tests were given at Albany State University. The tests have been much improved, giving results in just 20 minutes.

A.S.U. Director of Student Health Services, Brenda Williams, said "It only takes a small finger prick. We get a little blood. We set our timer for 20 minutes, and at the end of that time we can let a person know their status."

Southwest Georgia is fifth in the state in the number of new AIDS cases, with one thousand and 26 new reported cases since 1981, and 504 of those people have died. Eighty-two percent of those cases were African Americans, 16% are white.

Williams said "The highest number MSM's in our African American females, who list their risk as heterosexual contact."

Health officials say the biggest challenge to HIV is to get people with at risk life styles to test. There is no cure, but if caught early, HIV can be controlled. "There are medications that can be taken to keep them from reaching the full blown AIDS stage."

Fifty-six people came to Albany State for National HIV testing day. Free HIV tests are given by Public Health every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 until 3:00, at God's House of Human Services on North Monroe Street.

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