Health Department Recognizes World AIDS Day in Vermont

For Immediate Release:  Nov. 30, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The 21st World AIDS Day will be held on December 1 and recognized in Vermont both as a day to remember those who have died from AIDS related illnesses, and as a reminder to support those who live with the infection.

An estimated 358 people in Vermont in 2008 were living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

More than a million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

“We’re working in collaboration with community partners to help those who are living with the virus manage their illness,” said Daniel Daltry, care chief for the Health Department’s H.A.S.H. (HIV/AIDS/STD/Hepatitis C) Program. “We’re also promoting testing and prevention programs to help stop the spread of HIV.”

On World AIDS Day, the Vermont Department of Health recommits to work with community partners in delivering HIV/AIDS care and deliver support and prevention services around the state.

The Health Department manages several federal grants that support community based programs for people already living with HIV as well as those at increased risk for the infection.

“Services for people living with HIV include case management through AIDS Service Organizations,” Daltry said. “We also can assist them in obtaining medical evaluation and needed vaccinations.”

Vermonters living with HIV can work with the Health Department to notify their partners who may have been exposed to HIV through their voluntary Partner Services program.

The Health Department also receives federal grants to support testing and HIV prevention programs. Anyone with access to health care can ask their medical provider for a confidential HIV test. In addition, there are over 40 sites statewide where people can choose free, anonymous HIV antibody testing.

The Vermont Department of Health maintains a Resource Guide for HIV/AIDS care and prevention programs at http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/aids/testing.aspx.

HIV is spread primarily through sex and syringe sharing. A mother with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, although early intervention and medical care can greatly reduce the risk. Women who are considering pregnancy, or who are pregnant, are encouraged to ask their medical providers about HIV testing.

For information on HIV support, care, testing or prevention programs, call toll-free within Vermont 800-882-AIDS (800-882-2437), Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., or visit healthvermont.gov for more information.

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