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MDHHS observes World Aids Day December 1

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recognizes World AIDS Day Friday, Dec. 1, to bring awareness to the ongoing HIV epidemic. This year’s theme, “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit” pays tribute to those lost to HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of more than 9,000 Michiganders since 1980.

“Remembering the lives lost not only honors the memory of our loved ones but also emphasizes the urgency of our commitment to end the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “Advances in medicine and increased access to treatment are helping people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. In Michigan, there are many services to help any person with HIV access care and medication regardless of income or insurance status.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone get tested for HIV at least once as an adult. MDHHS recommends that people who engage in condomless sex or share drug injection equipment get tested more often. An estimated 14%, or one in every seven Michigan residents with HIV is unaware they have it as they have not been tested and remain undiagnosed. People under the age of 25 are most likely to be undiagnosed. To ensure access to testing for all Michiganders, MDHHS works in partnership with local health departments, clinics and community-based organizations.  People can also order an HIV self-test kit to be mailed to them directly.

As part of Michigan’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, MDHHS is working to significantly reduce the rate of new HIV infections by supporting efforts to increase HIV testing, connecting people to quality health care and increasing the use of prevention strategies such as Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).  When taken as prescribed, PrEP prevents a person from getting HIV, while U=U prevents people with HIV from transmitting it to their sex partners once they reach viral suppression. These strategies are used in hopes to create a path to zero new infections.

Michigan residents with questions related to HIV are encouraged to call the Michigan HIV/STI Hotline at 800-872-2437 or chat online weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also contact 211, or visit this websiteto locate HIV services, and additional information and resources can be found at Michigan.gov/HIVSTI.

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