For Immediate Release: Nov. 30, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health works year-round to support individuals living with – or at risk of – HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1 the Health Department will recognize World AIDS Day in an effort to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic.
"It is a day to increase awareness of the impact of AIDS and recommit ourselves to end the epidemic,” said Daniel Daltry, care chief for the Health Department's HIV/AIDS/STD/Hepatitis Program.
As of December 2009, there were 405 Vermonters diagnosed and living with HIV. Of these, 247 had an AIDS diagnosis. An estimated 100 Vermonters are infected but don’t know it.
HIV is spread primarily through sex and needle sharing. A mother with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Early intervention and medical care can greatly reduce the risk, and women who are considering pregnancy, or who are pregnant, are encouraged to ask their healthcare provider about HIV testing.
The Health Department manages several federal grants designed to provide HIV/AIDS care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS. The grants also underwrite HIV testing and prevention programs statewide. The Health Department works with community partners to deliver the majority of Vermont's HIV testing, prevention and HIV/AIDS assistance programs.
In 2010, the Health Department helped more than 300 Vermonters living with HIV/AIDS get medications that slow progression of the infection. The Health Department also helps people living with AIDS access medical case management, treatment programs, and mental health and/or medical nutrition therapy through collaborations with community partners.
Key partners in care and support services include Vermont CARES, AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, and the HIV/HCV Resource Network, the Comprehensive Care Clinics, Twin States Network and the Vermont People With AIDS Coalition.
For information on HIV support, care, testing or prevention programs, call toll-free within Vermont 800-882-AIDS (800-882-2437), Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.