The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 4, 2012

The battle against AIDS

NORMAN — We missed taking note of the World AIDS Day this past Saturday but we are reminded of efforts to treat those with the disease and preventing the outbreaks throughout the world.

In Oklahoma, the battle still is being waged. Through 2011, nearly 2,400 AIDS cases have been reported in Oklhaoma. In addition, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS cases, has been reported in about 2,500 Oklahomans, according to the state health department.

Nationally, young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent about a quarter of the new HIV infections each year. Sixty percent of youth living with HIV are unaware they are infected. The greatest number of infections occur among gay and bisexual youth. Nearly half of all new infections among youth occur in African American males.

State officials say the numbers show there still is a gap in knowledge about HIV transmission. There are barriers — fear, stigma, financial — that keep individuals from being tested.

Delayed testing for HIV often means an individual not only finds out he or she has HIV, but AIDS as well.

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