More Than 16,000 Tennesseans Now Living With HIV
Dr. Tim Jones, state epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health, says there are now more than 16,000 people in the state with the disease, with nearly 900 new diagnoses annually, and those who are infected living longer. “With better drugs and protocols for taking care of folks, people are living much, much longer than they were a decade or two ago,” he points out. “And many folks are actually living a normal lifespan, which is really exciting.” Regardless of risk, Jones says it is recommended that every person be tested for HIV at least once in his or her lifetime. Jones notes that the group with the greatest risk of contracting HIV continues to be men who have sex with men, but he says increased outreach is also needed for Tennessee’s communities of color. “African-Americans are, on a per capita basis, about three times more likely to have HIV than the general population, so that’s clearly a group which we target for prevention as well,” he explains.
As of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide and an estimated 35 million are living with HIV.