DHEC Encourages Testing for World AIDS Day 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov. 27, 2018
Columbia, SC - The 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day will be observed this Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging South Carolinians to get tested, the agency announced today.
The 2018 World AIDS Day theme is "Know Your Status".
"Every county in the state has residents living with HIV, but many South Carolinians remain unaware of their HIV status because they have not received an HIV test," said Ali Mansaray, director of DHEC's STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division.
To promote testing, DHEC is holding free testing events in the Midlands, Upstate, and Pee Dee regions on Nov. 28, 2018, and in the Lowcountry on Nov. 29, 2018. Testing is open to everyone.
To find a participating clinic near you, visit www.scdhec.gov/health/publichealthclinics.
"During 2015-2016, 1,505 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in S.C.," said Mansaray. "As of December 31, 2016, there were 18,997 residents of South Carolina living with a diagnosis of HIV, including AIDS."
According to the CDC, an estimated 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment.
"Early detection through testing remains essential to successfully identifying and treating the disease, and helping to end the epidemic," says Mansaray.
Another vital component to ending the HIV epidemic is ensuring that all persons living with HIV are in a continuous system of medical care and treatment. DHEC estimates that almost 6,000 persons living with HIV are not currently receiving medical treatment. To address this situation, DHEC has implemented Data to Care which offers those living with HIV assistance and support to bring them back into care and help them to stay in treatment.
For more information about World AIDS Day, as well as local HIV testing sites, call DHEC's S.C. AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC's website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.