AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was. In fact, with careful management, people living with AIDS can live almost entirely normal lives. With World AIDS Day (which promotes awareness, not AIDS) approaching, what are Birminghamians doing?
AIDS, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, disproportionately affects African-American men – “African American males were 6.8 times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV as white males.” As many as 14,000 individuals in Alabama may have the disease, with as many as 2,500 of those unaware of their infection. Unfortunately, treatment is impossible without a diagnosis.
Finding a testing center
Screening tests for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are free through AIDS Alabama, among other services. If someone tests positive, doctors recommend they begin a regimen of antiretroviral drugs, which minimize symptoms and reduce the possibility of transmission.
In addition to AIDS Alabama, Birmingham AIDS Outreach also provides support for those potentially (or definitely) living with the chronic condition. This World AIDS Day, BAO plans to host a Christmas Toy Drive (and party) at Quest Club.
UAB has committed to supporting the 90-90-90 plan since the plan began in August. Michael Mugavero, M.D. is the co-director for the UAB Center for AIDS Research.
Mugavero hopes to see at least 72% of those living with AIDS in Alabama fully suppress their condition – 90% of everyone living with AIDS should know their status, 90% of those who know their status should have already started antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those on antiretroviral treatment should fully suppress the condition.
90% of 90% of 90%, if my calculator works correctly, is 72.9%. “If we can achieve the 90-90-90 plan by 2020,” Dr. Mugavero says, “… we will be on our way to ending the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2030.”