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MN Advocates Say Battle Against AIDS is Far From Over

IMAGE: World AIDS Day is Saturday. In Minnesota, a new person is diagnosed with HIV on average every 30 hours. Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
IMAGE: World AIDS Day is Saturday. In Minnesota, a new person is diagnosed with HIV on average every 30 hours. Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
November 30, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Tomorrow (Saturday) is World AIDS Day as people from Minnesota and across the globe look to past successes in fighting the virus, and also to the challenges ahead.

Bill Tiedemann, executive director of the Minnesota AIDS Project ,says a lot of progress has been made in the battle against the global epidemic, but there is still a long road ahead.

"We are still fighting to decrease incidence of HIV and we are still educating people about risk factors and people are still getting infected. So we need to continue to have this discussion and continue to bring awareness to HIV."

There are currently more than 7,000 Minnesotans living with HIV or AIDS; and a new case is reported to the state on average every 30 hours.

Tiedemann says the group that remains the biggest concern is young gay and bisexual men.

"It's very hard to reach them. They feel that AIDS is over. People now can live a long, healthy life. It's a chronic disease. So, they're not taking it as an important issue in their lives, so they are putting themselves at risk for HIV."

Tiedemann is now closely watching the happenings in Washington, D.C. with the so-called "fiscal cliff" quickly approaching, which could very well mean reduced funding for the fight.

"We have come a long way and if we start seeing cuts around HIV, around treatment, around prevention, we are going to see an increase in incidents."

According to the state Department of Health, HIV and AIDS have claimed the lives more than 3,300 Minnesotans. The disease is in each of the 87 counties, but the concentration of cases is in the Twin Cities metro area.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN