Local Measures to Combat AIDS - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Local Measures to Combat AIDS

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Amber Griswold

Nearly three million people died of AIDS last year.

Despite new drugs, and all the money going toward treatment and prevention, the problem worldwide is getting worse.

Worldwide, the United Nations estimates nearly $11 billion will be needed next year for AIDS treatment and prevention. That's more than double what was available last year.

What's being done locally to combat this deadly disease?

Brian found out he had HIV right before the new year. He went to "Matthew 25" AIDS Services in Henderson, for the test and has been going there for check-ups, counseling and other services ever since.

Brian explained, "I wanted to know. I wanted to take care of myself, especially with the meds they have today and the people I know who are 22, 27 years into it, being on the meds. It's so much better than it used to be."

"Matthew 25" will be making it better for a lot more people after just receiving one of only 142 grants from the CDC. With that funding, the agency is expanding its office and hiring four new employees to run prevention programs.

Ryan Nix, "Matthew 25" Outreach Director commented, "That's one of the biggest problems that we face as an organization, is when people are newly infected, they say, 'I would have never have thought that HIV is here in Evansville or HIV is here in Kentucky.' and it is."

Matthew 25's medical clinic sees more than 160 patients from all walks of life. They know more people are living the disease and don't know it. The grant money will help them take HIV testing to the streets.

Nix explained, "It means doing it at churches. It's doing HIV testing and counseling where it's never been done before, at a bar, because a lot of people might have fear to access counseling and testing in a civic center."

Brian knows people don't get the test because they're afraid. "With more education and the more knowledge people gain of it, I think the less fear there will be."

Less of a stigma is something else "Matthew 25" is trying to tackle.

For more information, contact Matthew 25 at (270) 826-0200 or cbmatt25@lightpower.net

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