DEAR ABBY: Today, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day. With effective treatment, people with HIV can live as long as those without HIV. Fear, shame and ignorance remain barriers to testing and treatment, which can be more deadly than HIV itself.
People with HIV who are in treatment need never develop advanced HIV (formerly full-blown AIDS). Please encourage your readers, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation, to get tested, and if positive, to get treatment. HIV can affect anyone. -- MARY IN FREDERICK, MD.
DEAR MARY: I'm glad you wrote. Knowing one's HIV status is extremely important because, unlike in years past, the disease can be controlled. But in order to do that and not spread it to others, it is essential that sexually active individuals get tested.
Readers, you can be a healthy HIV-positive person and control it IF you know you have it AND get treatment. Ask your doctor about being tested, if you have one. If you don't have a doctor, contact your county health department about how to find testing and treatment in your community, or visit www.freehivtest.net for information about free tests in many areas across the nation and abroad.