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Vermont recommending HIV testing

The Vermont Department of Health is urging Vermonters to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Nationally, accroding to Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist, about 16 percent of people living with the virus don’t know that they have it. It can take about 11 years from the point of infection before identifiable symptoms of HIV infection present themselves. (Metro art)

The Vermont Department of Health is urging Vermonters to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Nationally, accroding to Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist, about 16 percent of people living with the virus don’t know that they have it. It can take about 11 years from the point of infection before identifiable symptoms of HIV infection present themselves. (Metro art)

— The Vermont Department of Health is urging Vermonters to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Nationally, accroding to Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist, about 16 percent of people living with the virus don’t know that they have it. It can take about 11 years from the point of infection before identifiable symptoms of HIV infection present themselves.

“While there is no cure for HIV, there are medications available to treat the condition,” said Kelso. “Treatment can improve health and prolong life – and it can reduce the amount of virus in the bloodstream which can greatly reduce your chance of spreading HIV to others.”

Most people should be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care. People at higher risk should get tested every year.

Being unaware of one’s HIV infection increases the risk of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

“Getting tested for HIV provides valuable information that can help stop its spread,” said Kelso. “When people find out that they have the virus they can take action to prevent passing it on to others.”

HIV is spread primarily through unprotected sex and sharing injection equipment. The Health Department recommends that all pregnant women seek prenatal care and ask their medical provider for the HIV test.

For more information, go to www.11years.org or www.gettestedvermont.org or call the Health Department’s toll-free AIDS Hotline at 800-882-2437 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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