Today is World AIDS Day, and in observance the Santa Barbara County Health Department is joining local partners to celebrate the achievements made in HIV prevention.
World Aids Day is an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses and show support for those living with HIV.
This year’s theme is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.” According to County Health, in order to end the HIV epidemic the social challenges which block marginalized groups from equal access to services must be addressed.
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in seven people in the United States who have HIV don’t know that they are HIV positive. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
Those who should be tested more frequently include: men who engage in sex with other men, those who have multiple sexual partners, anyone who knowingly engages in sex with an HIV positive partner, intravenious drug users, anyone who exchages sex for drugs or money and those diagnosed with or seeking treatment for another sexually transmitted disease such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Chlamydia.
HIV is a preventable disease. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention strategy in which antiretroviral drugs are used to protect HIV-negative people from HIV infection.
As of 2020, in Santa Barbara County, the burden of HIV/AIDS cases is as follows: 24 newly reported HIV-infected cases and 613 residents living with HIV/AIDS.