Guilford Among Top Counties For New HIV Infections

Guilford Among Top Counties For New HIV Infections

7:27am Sep 09, 2019
A close up of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Truvada pill in a lab in a Foster City, Calif. Truvada was approved by the FDA in 2012 as a form of PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis, used for preventing HIV. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

A new report shows that Guilford County ranks second among large urban counties in North Carolina for new HIV infections.

The data comes from the state Department of Health and Human Services and looks at a three-year average. 

The new cases are predominantly affecting African American men and those between the ages of 20 and 29. Overall though, the number of cases is coming down across the state.

Scott Trent is lead health educator with Triad Health Project, an HIV service organization in Greensboro.

He says we have the tools to end this epidemic.

“If a person gets effectively treated for an HIV infection, and they can get their viral load, the amount of virus that’s in their body, down to a level that’s undetectable, then that person is no longer infectious, and that stops the virus with them," he says. "That stops the epidemic with that person.”

Trent says one of the biggest breakthroughs is a preventative pill or pre-exposure prophylaxis, taken once a day. When used effectively, chances of becoming infected after exposure are less than 1 percent.

He adds that addressing disparities in health care access and the remaining stigma around HIV are also crucial. 

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