Delaware is still among the top 10 states in the nation per-capita for AIDS cases and HIV infections. AIDS Delaware maintains a never-ending focus on the importance of education, prevention, testing and treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults who are sexually active be tested at least once a year. “That being said, with our prevention efforts we try to reach out to communities that have the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS,” says AIDS Delaware Executive Director John Klein.
That would include the gay population and the African-American community, as well as intravenous drug-users. Klein says a pilot needle exchange program entering its fourth year has helped to bring down the numbers of new infections. The program allows addicts to exchange used dirty needles for clean ones, reducing the risk of spreading the infection by sharing needles.
As of Oct. 31, there were 3,547 people living with HIV/AIDS in Delaware. One of every 247 people in the First State are HIV-positive.
Klein says it is not a time to get complacent, and he says many young people seem to believe that HIV/AIDS was something their parents’ generation had to worry about.
“I think we’re motivated by the fact that this is a 100% preventable disease, and we certainly can do something to fight this,” Klein says.
Wednesday is 2010 World AIDS Day. Those who are battling HIV/AIDS and those who have lost their lives to the disease are being remembered at a candlelight vigil beginning at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W. 13th St., in Wilmington. The interdenominational service also includes music. The public is welcome.
For more information, call AIDS Delaware at 302-652-6776 or click here.
The Delaware Division of Public Health offers testing and referral programs. Call 302-744-1050, or click here.