AIDS Foundation Chicago Need2KnowHIV

More than 20,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago – three times the national prevalence rate.

In some Chicago neighborhoods, HIV rates have climbed to a staggering 53 percent in recent years.

That’s why the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is marking this World AIDS Day by announcing a new campaign called
Need2Know HIV, an initiative to educate people about the importance of HIV testing.

partnership with Abbott, a Chicago-headquartered global health care
company, AFC is using social media platforms such as Facebook and
Twitter to increase awareness and encourage conversation
about testing. The campaign began on World AIDS Day, December 1, and
continues through the month.

What sets Need2Know HIV
apart from other HIV testing campaigns? It highlights the importance of
diagnosing HIV in its earliest stages, as well as ongoing viral load
molecular testing
for those living with HIV.

many HIV-positive people are not diagnosed in the early phase of the
disease — when they are most contagious — and unknowingly spread the
virus to others. Testing is critical
to stopping the spread of HIV, though many people are not getting
tested and may not realize significant advances in testing technology
that are now available.

simple: we can’t end AIDS without a stronger commitment to HIV testing,
and that starts with educating people about the importance of testing
to know their status and manage HIV,” said
David Ernesto Munar, AFC president/CEO.

People can show their support and educate others by visiting and “liking” the
Need2Know HIV campaign on Facebook, Munar said.

diagnostic testing allows individuals to know within two weeks of
exposure if they are infected. The newest HIV combo tests can detect
both antigens (the actual HIV virus) and antibodies
to HIV (the body’s response to fight the virus). HIV combo tests allow
people to know their status weeks sooner than they potentially could
with traditional antibody-only HIV tests.

those individuals who live with HIV, monitoring the disease plays a key
role in their overall treatment. Ongoing viral load molecular tests help
patients and their health care providers
monitor the response of the virus to antiretroviral drug treatments,
helping to guide treatment decisions.

detection provides information to help people make decisions that may
reduce risky behavior. It also allows people who are HIV positive to
start on antiretroviral therapy sooner, which
benefits long-term health and may also reduce HIV transmission rates by
96 percent.

nearly 30 years, Abbott has been committed to fighting HIV by developing
important tests and therapies for patients,” said Brian Blaser,
executive vice president, Diagnostics Products,
Abbott. “Our commitment to HIV continues today as we partner together
to launch efforts such as
Need2Know HIV to help educate people about the critical role testing can play in stemming the tide of this virus.”

People can learn more by visiting the AFC’s
website and
Facebook page.