AIDS testing on the rise; Worldwide AIDS day

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Local advocates for AIDS and HIV awareness told News Leader Nine, 90% of what you think you know about AIDS is wrong.  "People talk about what they believe HIV is. They preach it in their churches, they teach it in their schools, they tell it to their children and kids and think, 'that doesn't affect me.' They are wrong," said Better Way Foundation chairman and founder Jeremy Hobbs.

One in Ten or 1,600 people have AIDS in Columbus.  About 20% more have the disease but do not know it.  "The African American population is just devastated by HIV and AIDS. It is not just guys. It is anything but. We have so many young women, from the ages of 13 to 24 that are highly infected," explained Hobbs.

Awareness is on the rise, thanks to this seventh annual worldwide AIDS day.

Hobbs said in 2010 more people got tested than ever before in history.

He believes we still have a long way to go. "Here in Columbus we also have a problem with sex education as well. We have to talk about these issues. In school we need to talk about condom knowledge."

If you do not know how to bring these tough topics up to your kids, the Better Way Foundation can help you get started. For more information about education, AIDS testing, or support groups, call 706-580-6239.

"There is no excuse for ignorance anymore about this disease. It is time to educate yourselves, families, peers. Encourage others to go get tested. Become an AIDS advocate. Just wear a red ribbon," urged Hobbs.

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