December first is World AIDs Day, it is a moment to remember those who lost the battle to HIV or AIDs, as well as a day of hope for survivors.
The Coachella Valley has a unique medical facility dedicated to the treatment of HIV/AIDS. The Desert AIDs Project began its work in the eighties in the face of the AIDS crisis, today thousands of clients benefit from the organization’s health care providers, but its main goal is to put an end to HIV transmission.
The test for HIV was developed in the mid-eighties but a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows one in seven people live with the virus without knowing.
The CEO for the organization, David Brinkman, said that is a problem that needs to be resolved.
Brinkman said, “You can live upgrades of a decade plus and show no symptoms, so if you are not getting tested for HIV at a minimum annual wellness exam with your physician, all sorts of time can pass.”
The time passed without knowing your status can result with even more people exposed to the virus without a clue.
Brinkman said, “First and foremost when somebody knows they live with the virus not only when they receive care will they live their normal life expectancy but they will become noninfectious through HIV medications.”
Nicholas Snow was diagnosed with HIV over a decade ago, he said he feels lucky to live minutes away from his health care provider, but he knows not everyone has those options.
Snow said, “On World AIDs Day we need to remember that there are people all over the world that don’t have a connection to the greatest HIV AIDs service organization in the world.”
People may wear a red ribbon observing World AIDs Day, the ribbon honors those who lost the battle as well as the current fight to end the epidemic.
Brinkman said, “It’s our commitment to end the epidemic now, we have all the science and medicine to do it today, we just need the community’s will to follow through.”
The will for the community to know their health status.
Snow said, “To the person out there who doesn’t know they status, that you’re not alone, there’s a whole community of people, not only friends in the community but health-care providers that are here for you.”
The Desert AIDs Project provides free HIV testing in location all over the valley, find the nearest location, here.