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Experts Address State of HIV/AIDS Care in the Region Following Landmark Assessment Showing Widening Gaps in Social Services
Date:11/25/2008

to estimates from the Southwestern PA AIDS Planning Coalition, there are 3,600 individuals reported living with HIV/AIDS in the region. Approximately 90 percent of these individuals live in Allegheny County and 500 of them currently access services at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.

    Key findings from the assessment include:
    -- Many basic health and social service needs are not being met -- only
       30% of respondents reported that their general health was either
       excellent or good.
    -- Major advancements in medical care for HIV/AIDS are enabling us to
       treat AIDS as a chronic disease, allowing many people to live longer.
       While much progress has been made in addressing the burden of
       individuals living with HIV/AIDS, more attention must also focus on
       their long-term needs.
    -- The stigma of being HIV positive persists and creates problems for
       people seeking HIV-related care -- 29% of respondents reported that
       stigma made it difficult to seek care.
    -- Living with HIV in rural areas presents additional challenges -- nearly
       33% of those surveyed felt long distance to medical facilities and
       personnel was a barrier to care.
    -- While the Pittsburgh region has become a leader in HIV/AIDS medical
       research and treatment, many basic needs of those with HIV/AIDS are
       unmet.

According to Dr. Susan Hunt, a pioneer in the treatment of local patients with HIV/AIDS, "After two decades of treating thousands of patients, we are seeing a resurgence of infection among new patients, particularly with younger gay men and African American women. It is critical that this new generation of those exposed to this terminal condition educate themselves about prevention, early detection and testing and how to access medical and social service resources."

As a response to this benchmark assessment, and in anticipation of Wor
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SOURCE Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force
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