Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recognized World AIDS Day at the City-County Building this morning with representatives from over 30 organizations, noting that almost 30 years after AIDS was first identified, there is still no cure.

R.N. Diana Baez of UPMC says Pennsylvania ranks 6th in the country for AIDS prevalence. Men who have sex with other men are still at the greatest risk, but heterosexual infection has increased from 11 to 20%. African Americans get 40% of new infections, though they are only 14% of the population in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Although anti-retroviral medications are keeping people alive for many years, Professor Linda Frank of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health says the drugs are expensive and may cause side effects. Clinicians must monitor patients closely, and the dosage and schedule must be followed strictly.

There are events all over town to emphasize the need for people to practice safe sex, find out their HIV status, and seek treatment if necessary.

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