Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes World AIDS Day 2013. Each year on December 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners around the globe observe this day to raise awareness of the global impact of HIV/AIDS. The theme through 2015 is “Getting to Zero,” meaning zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero deaths. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
DHHS is encouraging organizations around New Hampshire to help commemorate World AIDS Day with events and activities. Four colleges in the State will be holding events on campus during the week of December 1–7: the University of New Hampshire, Saint Anselm College, Southern New Hampshire University, and Colby Sawyer College.
“World AIDS Day presents another opportunity to reinforce the message that prevention works,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “The answer to stopping the spread of this serious and deadly disease is knowledge, personal responsibility, and a strong commitment to taking precautions. Risky behavior can be the difference between life and death.”
World AIDS Day was adopted by the World Summit of Ministers of Health on AIDS in January 1988. Later that year, the World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988 the first World AIDS Day. Generally, the rates of people contracting HIV/AIDS have remained steady at 40,000 new infections each year in the United States. However, some populations, such as women and minorities, have seen significant increases in rates.
“The numbers of cases of HIV and AIDS in the State have remained steady over the past 5 years,” said Dr. Montero. “While they are low compared with many states, the goal of course is a decrease eventually down to zero. Prevention is key and everyone needs to be tested at least once in his or her life. Know the facts, take precautions, and get tested because HIV can affect anyone.”
DHHS receives funding from the CDC for prevention activities and from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for access to care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS. The NH Ryan White CARE Program provides coverage for medications, medical care, and insurance premium assistance for New Hampshire residents living with HIV who meet financial eligibility criteria. As of October 1, 2013, the Program increased the financial eligibility limit from 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 400% FPL which, for a household size of one, translates to between $34,470 and $45,960 annually. If you would like more information about the Program, call 603-271-4502.
For more information about HIV/AIDS or World AIDS day, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov or the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov. For information about HIV testing, please contact the DHHS STD/HIV Program at 603-271-4502.