Over the past 15 years, the global response to HIV/AIDS has vastly slowed the spread of the disease, averting more than 30 million new HIV infections and nearly eight million deaths since 2000.
New HIV infections are down 35 percent in the past 15 years, and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by more than 40 percent in about the same period. The discovery of antiretroviral treatments in the 1990s turned an HIV diagnosis from a death sentence into a chronic illness. But even though new HIV drugs can save lives, and halt the transmission of the virus, there remain big gaps in access to treatment.
Here in town, the local LGBT group JASMYN this week announced the new three-year AIDSFreeJax Campaign to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, primarily among Northeast Florida youth who are at particular risk.
We speak with Cindy Watson, executive director of JASMYN, and First Coast physician Dr. Dori Russ.