Know Your Status Local health officials urge more HIV testing

Published: December 8, 2014

Jim Haug
Original Article:

With advances in medical treatment but still the persistence of old attitudes and social stigma, speakers on World AIDS Day last Monday like Father Phil Egitto of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church offered a prayer that “we don’t become indifferent to the future” of AIDS in the community.

Jeff Allen, president of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau, said he worries “that we’ve become complacent. There’s more access to drugs and treatment of AIDS.”

Allen observed that infection rates are rising locally among those older than 50 and people in their 20s — the kind of groups who probably “believe they have nothing to worry about,” Allen said.

“This false way of thinking has led to additional cases,” he said.

Allen also worries that people won’t get tested for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for fear that others will make assumptions about their character or lifestyle.

Allen cited the “stigma of someone thinking you’re gay because you took the test; that you’re promiscuous or a drug user” or “that you’re dirty and deserve what you got.”

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