2011 Brings Milestones for AIDS/HIV
PALM SPRINGS- With all the advancement in HIV medication this year, the state of AIDS/HIV in Coachella Valley is looking brighter.
It's been thirty years since doctors discovered the first case of HIV, and since almost the discovery of the disease the Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has served HIV-positive people in the Coachella Valley.
"Our community is still at a far greater risk, because the likelihood of somebody testing hiv positive when they take an hiv test locally is three times the national average," said Barry Dayton, Director of Marketing at DAP.
Founded in 1984, the organization just published their annual report and found that most their patients are 45-64 years old, that's older than the national averageof HIV/AIDS patients. They also found nearly half their patients are below the poverty level.
The center is also now recognized as a "medical home," which is a one stop treatment center for AIDS/HIV treatment. Researchers say this year treatment has never been stronger.
"Antivirul medication is extremely important because what it does is reduces the replication of the virus in the system," said Jean Davis, an HIV specialist at DAP.
Not only can antivirual medications treat HIV, but studies show the medications can stop the spread of the desiease if taken at an early stage. But getting the medications early enough could be just the problem.
It's estimated 5,000 people in the Coachella Valley are living with HIV and a third don't even know it.
"We would like to get everybody in the valley tested, it's reccomended that everybody in the valley get tested once a year by their primary care doctor. More so if you have been engaging in high risk behavior," said Joy Hamilton, from DAP.
More than a million people live with HIV nationally.
"I think there has been a lot of press around the idea that we are going to find the cure for AIDS and it remains to be seen whether that's going to happen soon,"said Dayton.
VISIT THIS WEB PAGE FOR A LINK TO HIV TESTING LOCATIONS: http://www.desertaidsproject.org/preventing-hiv/get-tested.php
Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News.