World AIDS Day Dec. 1: Health Department offers HIV testing

November 30, 2011

Online Staff Report

World AIDS Day is Thursday, Dec. 1, and approximately 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S.

Each year, about 50,000 people get infected with HIV. HIV is still here and it is a preventable disease. Getting an HIV test is the first step to finding out if you have HIV and getting medical care.

To slow the progression of HIV infections, getting tested is where to begin. People with HIV should stay in contact with their health care provider to work for the best outcome of disease management.

The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) HIV Prevention Program provides HIV counseling and testing services to targeted high-risk populations on-site at the WCHD. Anonymous and confidential testing is available using rapid testing technology. This type of HIV test can give you initial results within 20 minutes. Staff also perform individual behaviorally-based counseling that focuses on HIV risk reduction. Call (815) 720-4080 for more about HIV testing.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Winnebago County data shows there are 172 reported HIV cases diagnosed beginning in 2005 through Dec. 31, 2010. Cumulative AIDS cases reported beginning in 2005 through Dec. 31, 2010, are 201.

The Winnebago County Health Department is also the lead agent for the Northwest Illinois HIV Care Connect, which serves people with HIV in the 13 counties of northwest Illinois. In 2010, 431 people received medical case management services. This program facilitates linkage to medical care, the essential component to people staying healthier and living longer. For additional information about services available, call (815) 720-4071. Also visit www.wchd.org or www.hivcareconnect.com.

World AIDS Day is a chance to celebrate the memories of individuals who lost their battle with HIV, recommit ourselves to supporting persons living with HIV and continue to hope for a cure” said Todd Kisner, supervisor of HIV Direct Care Services.

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