November 30, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

World AIDS Day Urges Increased Awareness, Testing

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department joins a worldwide effort to increase awareness about HIV and AIDS on World AIDS Day, December 1st.

Nationally, it is estimated that 850,000 – 900,000 people are infected with HIV. Missouri has fewer cases than the national average, but public health officials agree the issue needs to be addressed.

“We encourage people to get educated, protect themselves, and get tested. Everyone should know their status,” says administrator of community health and epidemiology Kendra Williams. “For some time, there has been a disproportionate increase in HIV in the African American and Hispanic populations. We must increase awareness to help reverse this trend.”

Early diagnosis is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle with HIV. It is estimated that more than 50% of people that are newly infected with HIV are unaware of their status. This increases their risk of spreading the disease to others.

“People with HIV/AIDS are also at increased risk for complications from H1N1 and seasonal flu,” adds Williams. “It is vital to raise awareness of the risks and the importance of vaccination and prevention strategies.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department offers free, confidential HIV testing. For more information, call 417-864-1658 or visit www.springfieldmo.gov/health/hiv.html.

Media contact:
Jaci McReynolds
Public Information Administrator
Springfield-Greene County Health Department
227 E Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO  65802
(417) 874-1205 office
(417) 830-9511 cell
jmcreynolds@springfieldmo.gov

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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov