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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 17, 2011

World AIDS Day events planned

COLUMBIA, S.C. – World AIDS Day events will be observed throughout South Carolina on Dec. 1, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“Free or low-cost HIV tests will be offered in many of DHEC’s county public health departments and other community-based agencies to mark World AIDS Day,” said Janet Tapp, director of DHEC’s STD/HIV Division. “Community-based groups will offer rapid HIV tests so that people will know their HIV status.

“More than 14,700 people are known to be living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina and DHEC estimates that one new HIV infection occurs in the state every nine hours,” Tapp said. “Every county in the state has residents living with HIV, but many South Carolinians remain unaware of their HIV status because they have not received an HIV test.”

According to Tapp, DHEC encourages public health and private partnerships throughout S.C. to promote community support for HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment.

“We continue to partner closely with community-based organizations to deliver services to those most in need,” Tapp said. “We are also working in partnership with hospital emergency departments and other health care settings to promote routine HIV testing for early diagnosis.

“Most people in the early stages of HIV infection have no symptoms,” Tapp said. “Early diagnosis can link people to services that will help them stay healthy longer, benefit most from treatment, reduce costly hospital visits, and help prevent transmission to others.”

For more information about World AIDS Day events, including local HIV testing sites, call DHEC’s S.C. AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC’s website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

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For more information:
Tony Price – (803) 898-0338
Email – priceae@dhec.sc.gov
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