Carmen Julious of Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, a DHEC community partner, said early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection is essential to slow the disease’s progress through the body. “We know that people who are in care are less likely to infect someone else and are more likely to have a better health outcome.” Julious said.
“Advancements in HIV medications and treatments are helping people with HIV live longer, healthier lives, but they can only benefit from treatment if they learn their HIV status by being tested and then being linked into a care program.”
However, she said the most of the individuals in South Carolina with HIV are not always getting the medical treatment they need. “We know that the majority of those folks in South Carolina are not consistently in care.”
“We want to link these people to the treatment services that are readily available through DHEC public health clinics or more than 20 community-based agencies in communities across the state.” Julious said.
HIV is a preventable disease, yet every year more than 500 new HIV infections are identified in South Carolina, DHEC said.
“Getting to Zero,” the theme for World AIDS Day through 2015, is the goal set by DHEC’s STD/HIV Division to eventually attain a level of zero new infections and zero new deaths, using HIV-prevention strategies to reduce the risk of infection and increase testing in communities with higher infection rates.