The New Jersey Health Department is awarding more than $8 million in federal grants for the care and treatment of residents with HIV and AIDS.
Most of the money will go to 17 health-care organizations around New Jersey to fund comprehensive medical and support services to HIV and AIDS patients.
A portion of the grant money will be used to enhance rapid HIV testing and hire “patient navigators” to help those testing positive get into care programs.
Trenton Resident Sean Laramore, who has been HIV positive for two years, urges people to get tested and, if they have HIV or AIDS, take the medicine they need.
“AIDS and HIV is not a death sentence. I can live longer, but I have to take care of myself. If I stop taking my meds I can die. I got to weigh it out. Either die or live,” Laramore said. “I’d rather live.”
Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said the annual increase of new cases of HIV and AIDs in New Jersey over the past decade is down 68 percent because of increased testing and better medication and treatment.