Mississippi has ninth highest rate of HIV in U.S.

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Mississippi State Department of Health participated in National HIV Testing Day Monday.

According to a press release from the MSDH, Mississippi has the ninth highest diagnosis rate of HIV in the U.S.

“HIV is treatable, but early diagnosis is the key. Effective HIV treatments are available that reduce transmission and allow for a long, healthy life,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, MSDH State Epidemiologist, in the release.

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According to data from the AIDSVu website, in 2013 190 out of 100,000 people in Pearl River County were living with diagnosed HIV.

However, there was only one reported case of HIV in Pearl River County in 2014, according to data from MSDH.

“Transmission of HIV is preventable by knowing your status, getting treatment, disclosing your status to all sexual partners, and using condoms correctly and consistently, or abstaining from sex,” said Dobbs in the release.

According to the release, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. They have also found that one in eight people do not know they have HIV.

In Mississippi, men who have reported having male-to-male sexual contact have a higher risk factor for diagnosis, states the release.

The majority of newly diagnosed cases in 2015 were seen in those between the ages of 20 and 29.

The CDC recommends that those between the ages of 13 and 64 are regularly tested for HIV, and more often for those who have multiple sex partners, participate in male-to-male sex, or are injection drug users.

According to the MSDH website, county health departments offer free testing for HIV infection, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis as well as treatment options.

In 2014, the MSDH issued a report that stated there were 479 diagnosed cases of HIV in the state. Of those, 380 cases were recorded in black men and women and 378 cases were seen in men of all races.

More information about HIV and MSDH testing centers can be found at www.HealthyMS.com /std