OSDH Encourages HIV Testing on World AIDS Day
OKLAHOMA CITY – The impact of the HIV epidemic has been profound, affecting individuals, families and entire communities across the globe. In Oklahoma, an estimated 8,800 individuals have HIV and approximately 17% (1 in 6) are unaware of their status.
HIV has been a recognized virus for over 40 years, and is now a manageable chronic condition through advancements in HIV treatment and prevention.
In Oklahoma, the OSDH Rapid Start program provides equitable access to prevention, care and PrEP medications to clients in rural areas. Additionally, the program has successfully retained more than 90% of their clients in the PrEP program with no resulted seroconversion to HIV positive status for any clients taking PrEP medications.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is medication available to prevent persons who are HIV negative from getting HIV.
This year’s theme, “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit,” pays tribute to those we have lost to HIV/AIDS.
Remembering the lives lost not only honors their memory, but also emphasizes the urgency of the commitment to end the HIV epidemic.
“Through remembrance, we draw strength and determination to redouble our efforts in fighting the disease and providing support to those with HIV,” said Terrainia Harris, director, Sexual Health & Harm Reduction Service with OSDH. “It’s time to remind ourselves of the importance of compassion, empathy and solidarity in the face of adversity.”
The other aspect of this year’s theme, “Commit,” emphasizes the collective responsibility to act.
Individuals can make a difference, whether through working to improve equitable access and ending the disparities in relation to prevention, care and treatment; promoting scientific education and awareness; or supporting organizations that work tirelessly to serve those at risk and living with HIV. It will take a whole of society response to end the epidemic.
To learn more about ending the HIV epidemic in Oklahoma and available resources, visit: Ending HIV Oklahoma & Hepatitis Planning Council (OHHPC) and Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) | CDC
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.