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Get tested is the message at World AIDS Day observance at IPFW

Timothy Price, community outreach coordinator at Positive Resource Connection in Fort Wayne, talks about advances in treating HIV and AIDS with people attending a World AIDS Day observance Thursday at IPFW's Walb Student Union. The event was organized by Positive Resource Connection and the IPFW LGBT Resource Center. (By Kevin Kilbane of The News-Sentinel)
Timothy Price, community outreach coordinator at Positive Resource Connection in Fort Wayne, talks about advances in treating HIV and AIDS with people attending a World AIDS Day observance Thursday at IPFW's Walb Student Union. The event was organized by Positive Resource Connection and the IPFW LGBT Resource Center. (By Kevin Kilbane of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Medications now can suppress and control HIV.

Thursday, December 01, 2016 02:10 pm
Medicines now allow people with HIV to live a long and normal life, so the key is getting tested and starting treatment, people learned at a World AIDS Day observance Thursday at IPFW's Walb Student Union. Once people with HIV are on HIV medicine and get their viral load down to an undetectable level, they have the same life expectancy as healthy people and won't pass on the disease to anyone else, said Kandace Kelly, director of outreach services at Positive Resource Connection.

Positive Resource Connection collaborated with the IPFW LGBT Resource Center to hold the World AIDS Day event, which included an information table, presentation and free HIV testing.

Positive Resource Connection works with about 430 clients a year, most of whom are longtime clients, Kelly said. About 75 percent of the organization's clients use medicines to keep their HIV suppressed to an undetectable viral load, which is more than double the national figure of about 30 percent.

Just like medicines for some other chronic health conditions, people must take the HIV medicine for the rest of their lives, Kelly said. But Indiana offers a good insurance plan, so clients typically have no out-of-pocket costs to receive the medication.

An HIV prevention drug also is available for use on a short-term basis by people involved temporarily in risky sexual behavior, but there is a co-pay for it, she said.

With all of the medical advances, it's people who don't know they have HIV or AIDS who today are most likely to spread the disease to someone else, Kelly said. The group of people in greatest need of HIV testing are injection drug addicts, who may share needles. 

Basic HIV testing is quick and easy — just a swab inside the mouth, Kelly said. Positive Resource Connection offers free testing by appointment, 744-1144, and takes walk-ins 2-4:30 p.m. Fridays at its office, 525 Oxford St.



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