World AIDS Day: Iowans Encouraged to be Screened
DES MOINES, Iowa – There's a candlelight vigil tomorrow (Saturday) on the steps of the Capitol as Iowa marks World AIDS Day.
The theme this year is "Working Together for an AIDS-free Generation," and a big part of that effort is screening. Insurance providers are required under the Affordable Care Act to cover annual HIV counseling and screening for sexually active women, as well as screenings for those at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Kim Lingner is a health educator with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
"Planned Parenthood is going to play a large role in translating the new requirements. We'll be expanding access to the health care. We are among the leading providers of HIV screenings in the United States, so what we will do is help to get that knowledge and information out to these patients. "
Lingner says with nearly 1,900 Iowans living with HIV or AIDS, now is the time to talk to friends and family about the disease. She encourages everyone to be tested.
"Young people make up about 40 percent of all new infections worldwide. There are also the demographic groups that have disproportionate rates. Latinos will account for one in five new infections. African-American accounts for almost half of all HIV infections and gay and bi-sexual men are about 61 percent of all new infections."
The candlelight vigil will salute those whose lives have been impacted by HIV or AIDS.