Colorado: AIDS Infections Climb, so Pueblo Program Opens its Doors
April 20, 2010
Pueblo is responding to a rise in local HIV infection rates by improving access to testing, education and treatment.
Free, confidential HIV testing is available on a walk-in basis through the Early Intervention Program at Pueblo Community Health Center (PCHC). Anna Lee Beck, program coordinator, said too many individuals are not getting tested for the virus as part of their regular annual check-ups. Anyone who is sexually active should routinely get tested, she said.
"In the United States, 1.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Approximately one in five of those people are unaware they are HIV-positive and are spreading the virus at an alarming rate. It can take up to 10 years for a person to experience symptoms of HIV, so the only way to know if someone is infected is to get tested," said Beck. "Treatment options are available, and [PCHC] directly provides care for people infected by HIV and AIDS."
Thanks to grant funding, PCHC provides primary and comprehensive care to 252 HIV patients -- 197 men and 55 women -- from 17 Southern Colorado counties; about 70 percent of patients are from Pueblo. According to Beck, the program sees an average of eight to 12 new patients a year.
People with HIV/AIDS must "take ownership of their disease and take care of it through medical care and lifestyle," said Beck. "We help them do that. But we can only do that with people who know they have the disease."
PCHC offers no-cost rapid HIV testing at its Park Hill Clinic, 1302 E. Fifth St.; Colorado Avenue Clinic, 300 Colorado Ave.; and Avondale Clinic, 328 Avondale Blvd. For more information, telephone Beck at 719-543-8718, ext. 725, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
04.19.2010; Loretta Sword
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.