KCUR News
12:03 pm
Thu June 25, 2009

Health Agencies Ramp Up Efforts To Prevent HIV

Kansas City, MO – Health agencies across the metro are increasing their efforts to prevent the spread of HIV tomorrow and Saturday.

Several clinics have set up free, walk-in HIV testing sites in honor of National HIV Testing Day and in order to highlight the prevalence of the disease, which infects a new person every nine and a half minutes or so.

Samantha Hughes is with the Kansas City health department and says the agency now recommends that everyone know their HIV status.

HUGHES: "You know, it's just like having diabetes. You don't wait until you have symptoms to get tested. When you go to the doctor and do your normal well visit, they screen you for everything because sometimes you don't know until you get tested. And that's one thing about HIV - sometimes you don't know until you get tested."

Hughes says about one in every five people with HIV don't know they're infected. The virus is most commonly spread through sexual contact or sharing needles with someone who's infected.

The health department reports that in Kansas City, Missouri, there've been almost 60 new cases of HIV this year. That's about the same amount of new cases as this time last year.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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