World HIV/Aids Day a chance for awareness

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In recognition of World HIV and Aids Day Thursday, local physicians and residents are speaking up about HIV/Aids to help dispel some of the stigma and promote education and treatment for the disease.

Courtesy: MGN Online

Strides have been made worldwide in treatment and prevention methods. However throughout the south, there hasn't been much of a decline in infection rates.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported young people, gay and bisexual men are the highest percentage for newly-infected cases.

"I always tell the patients HIV is even easier to treat than things like diabetes and other chronic illnesses," said Dr. Amina Goodwin-Fernandez, infectious disease specialist. "It is a very simple disease to treat. Of course, we know there is no cure yet at least, but it is completely controlled."

African-Americans and Latinos also have higher infection rates. HIV is spreading fast among young African-American males. In 2015, men ages 20 to 24 had the highest risk. HIV testing is free and private at the Lauderdale County Health Department.