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posted on November 30, 2012 13:54

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              DATE: Nov. 30, 2012


Tom Shanahan
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0668

Saturday is World AIDS Day: Help Stop the Spread of HIV & STDs 

December 1st marks the 17th Annual World AIDS Day. It’s an important time to remember the lives lost to this terrible disease. But remembrance doesn’t do justice to the more than 500 Idahoans who passed away and the estimated 1,300 currently living with HIV or AIDS; we must be the vanguard of eliminating AIDS as well. To do so, we need to look seriously at the factors that perpetuate this disease.

Many people are not aware of the connection between the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and the persistence of HIV. Scientific evidence indicates that people with an STD are far more likely to get HIV, if exposed. STDs weaken the immune system and cause open wounds that can serve as entry points for HIV into uninfected individuals. Moreover, a new study shows that HIV medications are not as effective in controlling HIV in patients with underlying STDs.

Knowing this makes the rising number of STD cases in Idaho all the more alarming:

•  Chlamydia cases increased nearly 25 percent over the last five years.

•  Cases of gonorrhea reported in 2011 were 9 percent higher than the 10 year average.

•  Since June 2011, over 50 new syphilis cases have been reported.

Additionally, syphilis might be facilitating transmission of HIV. Among those recently diagnosed with syphilis, 12 new cases of HIV were also found. Because of common risk and biologic factors, increases in STD rates can be closely followed by increases in HIV rates. 

So what do we do with this information about the link between HIV and STDs? We can act on this knowledge and practice safe sex. That includes:

• Have one sex partner who only has sex with you;

• Use condoms because condoms are effective at preventing STDs and HIV;

• Get tested regularly for HIV and other STDs if you’re sexually active; and

• If you are positive for HIV, get prompt medical care and treatment.

Please be responsible for your sexual health and your partner’s. And talk to your health care provider about getting tested for HIV and other STDs. Remember, the most common symptom of an STD and HIV is no symptom. So chat with your provider today, and let’s make HIV, AIDS and other STDs a thing of the past!    

For World AIDS Day events in your area, please click here.

For local testing centers, click here.

For more information, please click here.