(WTVM) - With the media spotlight shining on the deadly Ebola virus, HIV and AIDS seems like a quaint disease that doesn't attract much attention anymore.
But Georgia ranks fifth in the nation for people living with AIDS and HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.
It's frightening to realize that there are 50,000 Georgians with HIV, which can become full blown AIDS.
The Georgia Department of Health says African Americans are the ones hardest hit by the virus.
Among those living with HIV in 2012, 63 percent were African American. 45 percent of Georgians with HIV are not receiving care.
What's really sobering is that health officials say 20 percent of HIV positive people in the state don't even know they're infected.
A Montgomery, Ala. pastor just recently appeared in the news after he confessed to sleeping with some of his parishioners while concealing he suffers from AIDS. It made headlines more because the man is a pastor, than because he has a disease many Americans wrongly think has been defeated.
So we applaud the Georgia Department of Health for launching
. It targets minorities and offers testing and other resources.
We know how to prevent HIV and AIDS by practicing abstinence or at least safe sex, not sharing drug needles, getting tested, and getting early treatment.
Ebola may be grabbing all the headlines now, but we can't forget that AIDS is far more prevalent here and that it is preventable and treatable.
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