Wyoming Looks to Increase HIV Testing
June 30, 2006
According to the Wyoming Department of Health, of the more than 10 new people diagnosed with HIV in the state last year, at least three people died or visited a doctor never knowing they were infected. Health officials hoped National HIV Testing Day on June 27 would help raise awareness about the need for HIV testing.
"The bottom line is HIV can affect people from all walks of life, and it is important to be aware of your status," said Rob Johnston, HIV prevention coordinator at the state Health Department. "Once you have the facts, you can get help and take precautions to avoid spreading the disease."
Leon Solis, an HIV/AIDS counselor at the nonprofit Pathfinder in Cheyenne, said the number of people testing for HIV now is about five a month, a drop from 30-40 people a month nearly eight years ago. "Numbers everywhere, as far as testing, are low," he said. "I'm struggling to get people tested."
According to the state Health Department, 194 Wyoming residents have been diagnosed with HIV. Pamela Reamer Williams, director of the Wyoming AIDS Project, said she believes HIV is spread in the state mainly by people who don't know they are infected. "Overwhelmingly, people who know their HIV status are very responsible in not transmitting the infection," she said.
Reamer Williams said some national health advocates are calling for every sexually active person to be tested annually.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.