El Dorado News

Saturday
December 16, 2017
El Dorado News Times

South Arkansas Fights AIDS plans World AIDS Day service

By Special to the News-Times
This article was published November 26, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

The annual World AIDS Day (WAD) service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church at 300 E. Main in El Dorado, said Janet Beane, SAFA director. She said members of the SAFA staff and board of directors invite the public to attend this service. Light refreshments will be served.

World AIDS Day was first held in 1988 to raise awareness of the AIDS’s epidemic. It is an annual observance to remember those who have passed away from AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is transmitted generally through some form of sex. Once the virus makes someone sick, it is then called AIDS, Beane explained.

SAFA offers free, oral HIV testing and those who would like to be tested for HIV/AIDS, should call for an appointment if they have had unprotected sex.

“Too many people don’t know they have HIV,” she said.

According to the Center for Disease Control at the end of 2014, an estimated 1.1 million persons aged 13 and older were living with HIV infection in the United States, including an estimated 166,000 (15 percent, or one in seven ) persons whose infections had not been diagnosed.

“Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others. The CDC estimates someone diagnosed today could live an estimated 33 years due to the improved HIV medications available in 2017,” Beane said.

Testing is the only way for the Americans living with undiagnosed HIV to know their HIV status and get into care. The CDC estimates that more than 90 percent of all new infections could be prevented by proper testing and linking HIV positive persons to care.

“HIV testing saves lives! It is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against HIV,” Beane said.

For more information, call the SAFA office at 870-875-2099.

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