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Prevalence of HIV and AIDS in North Dakota Increasing

PHOTO: This sculpture represents awareness of HIV/AIDS. The North Dakota Department of Health is seeing a rising number of HIV/AIDS cases, affecting all areas of the state. Photo credit: Jayel Aheram/Flickr.
PHOTO: This sculpture represents awareness of HIV/AIDS. The North Dakota Department of Health is seeing a rising number of HIV/AIDS cases, affecting all areas of the state. Photo credit: Jayel Aheram/Flickr.
December 1, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. – Today marks the observance of World AIDS Day, and it comes at a time when there are rising concerns about AIDS in North Dakota.

Lindsey VanderBusch, manager of the HIV/STD/Hepatitis/TB program for the Division of Disease Control at the North Dakota Department of Health, says the prevalence of HIV and AIDS is on the rise, with 357 individuals in the state with a diagnosis.

That's more than double the figure from 2007 and, she says there are the others in North Dakota who are infected, but don't know it.

"And so, the purpose of World AIDS Day is to bring awareness to HIV, let individuals know that it's still is an issue here in North Dakota, and we urge people to get out and get tested," she stresses.

VanderBusch says it is recommended that every person, regardless of risk, be tested at least once in his or her lifetime.

While the largest number of those living with HIV and AIDS has been in the more urban areas of Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks, VanderBusch says that's beginning to shift.

"People living in the western side of the state, up in the Ward County-Minot area,” she points out. “So, it's really become more of a homogenous prevalence, I guess, across the state."

As of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide and an estimated 35 million are living with HIV.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND