AIDS remains an epidemic in US, especially in minority communities
Published: August 3, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Jeanette Delgado is an AIDS activist in San Diego and she said it is getting harder and harder for people to believe that AIDS is still an issue in the United States, particularly within the Latino community in which she works as a nurse. As she left Washington July 27 after the conclusion of the XIX International AIDS Conference, which brought renewed attention of the epidemic in the U.S., she said she felt strengthened and more energized about her work back home. "Maybe now people will believe me when I say this is serious stuff, that we still have a life-threatening epidemic on our hands," she told Catholic News Service as she boarded a plane for the West Coast. Recent medical advances mean that HIV is no longer an automatic death sentence. Many who begin treatment soon after infection can live with the virus indefinitely. But that's only possible if people know their status and seek appropriate treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of the 1.2 million HIV-positive people in the U.S. do not know they are infected. "The general mentality of Americans is that AIDS is not a problem here. I hear a lot of people say, 'I thought that was all taken care of,'" Father Dennis Rausch, founder of the HIV ministry of the Miami Archdiocese, told CNS. "We're coming to the point we have to remind people that there's no cure because the numbers are on the rise. There's a mentality among young people especially that they can pop a pill and everything will be fine. Indeed with Truvada (a drug the U.S. government recently approved to prevent HIV infection), studies show that people can stay negative even though they're sexually active," Father Rausch said.
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