Activities Statewide Commemorate World AIDS Day
Sunday, December 1, 2013, is World AIDS Day and activities throughout the state next week will raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, encourage progress in prevention and treatment and remember those who have lost their lives to the disease.
Between 2011 and 2015, the theme of World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero," which reflects the goals of Zero new HIV infections; Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.
"Diagnosis of new HIV cases has declined 48 percent since 2002. Only two infants in New Jersey were born HIV-positive last year, a drop of 85 percent over the past decade," said Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd. "These promising trends mean 'Getting to Zero' is an achievable goal."
According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. One in five of them are unaware they are infected. In New Jersey, 37,272 are living with HIV/AIDS and another 7,800 are unaware they are infected. Twenty-nine percent of those living with HIV are between the ages of 25 and 44. However, 34 percent of newly reported cases last year were among people 45 years of age and older. New Jersey ranks fifth in cumulative AIDS cases, third in total pediatric cases and has one of the highest proportions of women among those living with HIV.
Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito said HIV can be managed like any other chronic disease. "Early diagnosis means early treatment so it's important that anyone who thinks they may be at risk get tested and know their status."
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once. If you are at increased risk for HIV, you should be tested at least once a year. A list of Rapid Testing Sites in New Jersey is available at: www.nj.gov/health/rapidtesting_sites/.
Several health fairs and commemorations are taking place next week. Staff from the Division of HIV, STD and TB Services will be in attendance at some of these events. A list of activities and events commemorating World AIDS Day is available at: http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/aids/events.aspx