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Building an AIDS-Free Generation in Ohio

IMAGE: World AIDS Day is being marked this week in Ohio, and an event in Cleveland will raise awareness about the continued HIV/AIDS epidemic.
IMAGE: World AIDS Day is being marked this week in Ohio, and an event in Cleveland will raise awareness about the continued HIV/AIDS epidemic.
December 5, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – AIDS first came to light 30 years ago, and events this week in Ohio are drawing attention to the continuing epidemic.

Better investments in treatment and research are helping the tens of thousands of Ohioans with HIV/AIDS to lead productive lives, but newly diagnosed cases continue to rise.

"The increases are still happening,” says Lindsay Marcus, program coordinator with AIDS Funding Collaborative in Cleveland. “Certainly not at the same proportion as it was in the '80s, but in 2013 we still have a pretty rapid rate of HIV infection in Cleveland and around the United States."

More than 1,000 new HIV infections were reported among Ohioans last year, and just in Cuyahoga County, the rate increased by 13 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Today, the AIDS Funding Collaborative and the AIDS United AmeriCorps team are holding a free outreach and testing event at the Tower City RTA Rapid Station and on Public Square in Cleveland.

An estimated 17,000 people in Ohio are known to be HIV positive, but it's believed one-in-five people with HIV don't know they are infected.

Marcus says it's her organization’s goal to continue to educate the community and to help lead to an AIDS-free generation.

"Treating people is prevention,” she stresses. “Giving people access to care and to antiretroviral therapies is prevention, and it's helping to reduce new HIV transmissions."

Sunday marked the 25th annual World AIDS Day, and other events in Ohio this week included educational presentations, workshops and vigils to increase awareness and build support for those living with HIV/AIDS.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH