(KCPW News) Despite the fact that there is no cure for HIV, more people in Utah are becoming complacent when it comes to protecting themselves from the disease and rates are on the rise, says Health Program Specialist Rob Sonada of the Utah Department of Health:
"For the first five months of the year we're actually seeing the rates increase slightly over last year. So if we look from January through May of last year and this year we have seen an increase," says Sonada. "We're somewhat hesitant to call it a trend at this early stage."
Sonada says the rates are up about 12% over that time period. However, he adds that Utah is a "low instance" state averaging between 90 and 100 cases per year and an increase of just two or three cases can boost the percentage.
Today is National HIV Testing Day. Sonada says the goal is not only to educate, but to identify those who don't know they have the disease.
"In the U.S. there are approximately 250,000 people who are HIV positive who don't know they are positive. This is one of the hopes of National HIV testing day is that people will go (get tested)," says Sonada. "Anybody can go to their local health department for either free or very low cost testing."
Getting tested for HIV takes about 20 minutes and the cost ranges from $10 to $15. Links to more information are below: