Once a death sentence, HIV and AIDS remain incurable yet treatable. But 1 in 5 HIV-positive Americans don't know they have it.
Researchers believe people don't get tested because they don't want to know.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) answer to such fears are facts like: The earlier treatment starts, the better one's chances at staying healthy; and that people who know they have HIV can prevent spreading it unknowingly.
More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, including the 20 percent who don't know it, according to the CDC. At least 17,000 people with AIDS have died since 2009, and more than 619,000 people with AIDS in the U.S. have died since the epidemic began in 1981, the CDC reported.
Despite increases in the total number of people living with HIV in the U.S. in recent years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable.
However, new infections continue at far too high a level, the CDC said, with some 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year.
HIV testing is available for free at the Monroe County Health Department, 1100 Simonton St., but must be requested. Call 305-293-7500 for details.
-- Gwen Filosa