Jefferson County, Colo. — There are more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV. That’s roughly twice the population of Jefferson County — or about half the people living in the Denver Metro Area. Over the last few decades, significant progress has been made in the U.S. due to advances in HIV prevention and care, and as a result, the number of annual new HIV infections has started to decline. But there is still more work to do.
December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day to remember those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, raise awareness for those living with the virus and take action in the fight against it. This World AIDS Day, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages people to get tested for HIV and to explore their options for HIV prevention.
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once. On World AIDS Day, JCPH’s Lakewood Clinic will be offering free HIV testing from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 303-239-7078.
With many new developments in the fields of HIV prevention and care, there are also many ways to prevent the virus. July 2017 marked the five-year anniversary of the U.S. FDA approving Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or “PrEP.” PrEP, a once daily medication taken to prevent HIV, is one of several ways — including correct condom use, knowing your HIV status and others — to lower a person’s risk for HIV.
In September 2017, the CDC announced that people living with HIV who adhere to their medication and maintain an undetectable viral load “have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV negative partner.” This announcement shows that treatment has health benefits to both individuals and the community, reinforces the fact that those living with HIV and their partners can lead healthy, long lives and is a major step toward helping reduce stigma.
In addition to HIV testing, JCPH provides the following care and prevention services:
To learn more about World AIDS Day, visit https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day. To learn more about JCPH and free or low-cost HIV services, visit www.jeffco.us/public-health.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting health and preventing injury and disease for the residents of Jefferson County, Colorado. Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. To learn more about JCPH, visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.