More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living
with HIV and many of them don’t even know it. Hundreds of thousands of people
have died in our country since the epidemic began a few decades ago.
Idaho is not immune. In fact there were 11 new cases of HIV
reported in the Gem State in the third quarter of 2013 alone. AIDS has been in
Idaho since 1984. It’s estimated that there are more than 1,200 people living with
it in the Gem State today.
“It’s here, it’s alive, people can become easily infected if
precautions are not taken to protect their health,” said Jen Walton.
Jen says HIV is easily preventable and is most often spread through
“Men who have sex with men is the higher risk population
statistically,” said Walton. “But there has been a little bit of a shift
recently where we are seeing higher numbers in the heterosexual population.”
Jen says people can go for years, or even a decade with
seeing symptoms of HIV and that’s why it’s important to be screened for it, if
you have any doubts.
“Early detection is key for a healthy outcome,” said Walton.
“Current day science has changed; it’s always changing and evolving. There are
medications that someone who tests positive can be placed on, labs and
specialty care that people can get connected to, to live a full normal healthy
Idaho accounts for roughly 4 percent of the total number of HIV
cases in the US.
HIV testing has come a long ways. Now people can get there
results in as little as 15 minutes. The Eastern Idaho Public Health Department
will be conducting free tests during the week of December 9 by appointment.
Call your local EIPHD office for an appointment: Bonneville County 525-7245, Clark County 374-5216 or 745-7297,
Custer County 879-2504, Fremont County 624-7585, Jefferson County 745-7297, Lemhi County 756-2123
Madison County 356-3239, Teton County 354-2220
Idaho HIV/AIDS Statistics