Since the first cases of HIV were identified in the U.S., progress has been made in treatment and some of the misconceptions about the disease have been dispelled.
Health care officials say education is the key, especially when it comes to stopping the spread of the virus, which is more common in our area, than many might realize.
"In Mississippi we have over 600 new cases of HIV infection that we know of every year," said Dr. Rebecca "Tree" James, district health officer for east central Mississippi. "And in this district, we have over 40 new ones a year, and most of those tend to be in Lauderdale County."
James says half of the new cases reported each year locally involve people between 25 and 45.
She says it's important to remember that the virus cannot be transmitted through kissing, hugging, or just touching someone.