MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Department of Public Health officials are on a mission to end HIV. Ahead of World AIDS day on Wednesday, leaders are encouraging people to get tested.
This year’s theme is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (EHE): Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.”
According to ADPH, "the goal of EHE is to reduce new infections by 75% in the next five years and by 90% by 2030. To reach this goal, efforts will focus on five key strategies that together can end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.: diagnose, treat, prevent, respond and engage the workforce."
It’s important that Alabamians know their status and take preventative measures. Health officials say Alabama has a high infection rate, and according to the CDC, in 2015, Alabama ranked as the 22nd among the 50 states in the number of HIV diagnoses.
There’s also a stigma associated with getting tested, such as a lack of confidentiality.
"It's left entirely between the tester and the client that comes in. So, we want people to know that coming to the Health Department is not a bad thing and it is safe," said ADPH HIV Prevention Division Director Jora White.
For more information on where you can get tested, click here.
Earlier this year, while we've worked to keep COVID cases down, doctors say STD cases are up.
The Alabama Department of Public Health says there's an increase nationwide and in the state. Health officials say it's specifically with babies who contracted syphilis from their mothers.
They see an increase in pre-natal HIV cases also. Doctors believe this can be prevented if pregnant women get screened early.
"Mothers who are infected with HIV, if they receive antiretroviral therapy, during pregnancy - essentially you're going to stop that baby from contracting HIV, and the same situation for Syphilis," says ADPH Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers.