COLORADO SPRINGS – This Saturday, December 1st, is World Aids Day, and this year’s theme is know your HIV status.
Dr. Sarah Hanson with UCHealth works in Colorado Springs at its new Fontanero Primary Care location. Dr. Hanson has extensive experience working with HIV/AIDS patients.
Dr. Hanson says there has been a lot of progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but this is no time to let our guard down.
“I think everybody needs to be aware about HIV and AIDS transmission. New guidelines recommend that every single person be tested at least once in their lifetime for HIV. The reason is that the initial disease is clinically silent, so by the time you start having symptoms your immune system may already be compromised.”
It’s also important that people in high risk groups are aware of how the virus is transmitted.
“The most commonly infected population are men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users. That’s not to say that heterosexual couples cannot also be infected, and it can also be transmitted from mother to child in utero as well.”
Six years ago, the FDA approved a new drug that is now more widely used to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Hanson explains, “There is a new medication that we use for prevention. It’s called PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis therapy. You can take a one-pill, once-a-day regimen if you’re in a higher risk population to help prevent the transmission of the virus to yourself.”
PrEP was approved for use in high-risk adolescents earlier this year, and just this week the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – a panel of health care experts -recommended it as a method to stop the spread of the virus.
If you have any questions about HIV or AIDS, make sure to talk with a doctor.
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