In recognition of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, health officials urge Mississippians to "Take the Test, Take Control."
Mississippi had the 7th highest rate (out of 50 states and the District of Columbia) for HIV infection in 2011. The 2011 national rate for HIV infection was 15.8 per 100,000 compared to Mississippi, at 20.7.
In 2012, Mississippi reported 547 cases of HIV disease. Among HIV cases reported in Mississippi in 2012, 78% were male, 75% were African-American, and 43% were between the ages of 25-44.
Mississippi health leaders say while cases of HIV disease continue to be diagnosed, the outlook for people who are HIV positive is dramatically different than when the disease was first identified 30 years ago.
"Early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment of HIV disease," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "While HIV disease still cant be cured, it can be effectively treated and people can live long and healthy lives."
"HIV testing is so important because it gives people the information they need to make good health decisions," said Dobbs. "If you test negative, you can take steps to stay that way. If you test positive, there are medications that will help you stay healthy, live longer and reduce the risk of passing the virus to someone else."
Find a free Mississippi State Department of Health testing site near you and more information on HIV disease and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases by visiting HealthyMS.com/std.
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