From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
Sunday marks the 25th observance of World AIDS Day, a day when people around the world show solidarity in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
"I had been dating somebody who committed suicide," says David Pable.
Pable's partner had tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV—the virus that causes AIDS.
A few weeks after his partner's death, Pable started getting sick. Ten years ago he was also diagnosed as HIV-positive.
"I had just come out of the closet and it put me right back into the closet because of the stigma that is associated with HIV," says Pable.
According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, right now 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. One in five of them are unaware they are infected.
The theme for World Aids Day 2013 in Charleston is "See Zero."
"See Zero" works to stop stigma through education and engaging patients to get the number of infections and AIDS-related deaths down to zero.
"HIV is a preventable disease. That is our mission at the Ryan White program—to educate the community on the resources available to those living with HIV, but also ways to prevent HIV," says Ashley Redmond, director for the Ryan White Program at Roper St. Francis Hospital. The Ryan White Program provides HIV-related services to more than half a million people each year nationwide.
According to Redmond, the CDC estimates one in four people living with HIV are successfully navigating care that suppresses the virus, which is critical to stopping further transmission of HIV.
Pable found help through the Ryan White Program at Roper St. Francis Hospital.
"You get to take off a lot of veils. Closets are good for hanging clothes they are not good for people to be hanging out in," says Pable.
The Lowcountry AIDS Services is giving free HIV testing all this week. Call them at 747-2273 to set up a private appointment.
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