AUSTIN (KXAN) – The number of people living with HIV in the Austin-Travis County area increased more than 40 percent since 2006, according to a study by the Travis Medical Society Journal.
The Health and Human Services Department estimates there are now more than 5,000 people living with the HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS, in the area.
Some 88 percent of the new cases of HIV infection are males, 75 percent of them men who have sex with men. There was also an increase in the percentage of Hispanic people living with HIV, but there was a decrease in white and African-American people living with the virus. However, over the last seven years the number of African-American people living with HIV continues to be higher than Hispanics and Whites – over three times higher.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nationally, 16 percent of the more than 1 million people living with HIV don’t know they are infected. In the Austin-Travis County area, approximately 1,100 people are not aware they are infected with HIV.
To prevent AIDS, the CDC recommends:
- Limit the number of sexual partners
- Use condoms correctly and consistently
- Never share needles
- Get tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections, and insist your partner does too
- Get tested for HIV- the Health Department offers free and low-cost HIV testing
To schedule a screening, contact the HIV Prevention Program at 512-972-5580 or the STI Clinic at 512-972-5430. More information can also be found on the health department’s website.