More than 5,000 living with AIDS in Austin

AIDS first came to the forefront during the 1980's. Since then a lot of progress has been made. Even with the progress, programs in Austin are reminding everyone the fight is far from over.

More than five thousand are living with the virus in the Austin area. That number was lower years ago.
“This past year we had more new infections than San Francisco did. Think about that,” said Paul Scott, Chief Executive Officer, AIDS Services of Austin.

“We see a combination of why infections are rising in the Austin area slightly. It's because of the increase in population for one, a younger generation that’s more sexually active, and people not realizing they might be at risk,” said Scott.

ASA says young Black and Hispanic men are disproportionately affected.  But it's not all bad news. They say as for the clients they do seek and get care to, 83 percent are at undetectable status, which makes it less likely for them to pass along to someone else.

“We're finding people. We actually do a lot of work reaching out to the people with the highest risk of HIV,” said Scott.

ASA says one thing they worry about is funding. They don't know if the Trump administration will reduce funding for the HIV/AIDS community. Only time will tell. That's why they say donations are still important.

Also, on this year's World AIDS Day they are hoping they can shoot down any stigma, and get people tested. I took one myself.

One minute later, I got my negative result.

“People who test early and find out their status, particularly if they're positive, with medication they can live a healthy and long life,” said Scott.

There was also a balloon release, to honor all those who've fallen to the disease.
Overall in 2016, the world has seen progress with HIV/AIDS but there are still many hills left to climb.

In 2015, 39, 513 people were newly diagnosed, according to the CDC.
1.2 million people are living with the virus in America.

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