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    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Whether newly diagnosed or a long-term survivor, knowing where to turn for medical care can be overwhelming for persons living with HIV.

    “In San Bernardino County, 12% of all adults do not have health insurance,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. “However, a lack of insurance should not prohibit persons from seeking qualified medical care and treatment for HIV.  The Department of Public Health HIV clinics provide one such resource for persons who do not have health insurance.  The County’s HIV clinics offer clients a qualified team of HIV providers with experience serving persons living with HIV/AIDS.”

    “Our goal is to provide quality care and treatment in a confidential setting that addresses the holistic health of the person.  Services include medical care, health education and risk reduction, mental health services and access to the California AIDS Drug Assistance Program”, Dr. Ohikhuare said.  The County’s HIV clinics also provide support for partners of persons living with HIV/AIDS, known as Partner Services.  Support is offered in the form of HIV/AIDS prevention education, risk reduction, and HIV testing and counseling.

    The Department of Public Health collaborates with community-based organizations that provide a variety of support services to persons living with HIV/AIDS.  These support services include, but are not limited to, individual counseling, support groups, housing assistance, food and medical transportation, and linkages to additional sources of medical care.

    For more information about services available for people living with HIV/AIDS, partners and other family members, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health AIDS Program at (800) 255-6560, or visit the website at http://www.KnowSBC.com.

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    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Para las personas que han sido diagnosticadas recientemente o han vivido con VIH por mucho tiempo, saber a dónde acudir para cuidado médico puede ser difícil.

    “En el condado de San Bernardino, el 12% de adultos no tienen seguro medico” dice el Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Oficial de Salud, Condado de San Bernardino Departamento de Salud Publica.  “Sin embargo, la falta de  seguro medico no debe de impedir que las personas obtengan buen cuidado médico y tratamiento para el VIH. Las clínicas de VIH del Departamento de Salud Publica proveen un recurso para personas que no tienen seguro medico.  Las clínicas del condado ofrecen un equipo de proveedores calificados en el tratamiento de VIH y experiencia atendiendo a personas que viven con el VIH/SIDA.”

    “Nuestra meta es proveer cuidado y tratamiento de calidad en un ambiente confidencial que contribuye a la salud holística de la persona.  Los servicios incluyen cuidado médico, educación de salud y reducción de riesgos, servicios de salud mental y acceso al Programa del Estado de California de Ayuda para Medicinas Recetadas Contra el SIDA,” dice el Dr. Ohikhuare.  Las clínicas de VIH del condado también proveen apoyo para las parejas de personas viviendo con VIH/SIDA, este servicio es conocido como el Servicio a Parejas.  Apoyo es ofrecido en la forma de educación de prevención contra el VIH/SIDA, reducción de riegos y disponibilidad de la prueba de VIH.

    El Departamento de Salud Publica colabora con organizaciones comunitarias que proveen una variedad de servicios y apoyo para las personas viviendo con VIH/SIDA.  Los servicios de apoyo incluyen, pero no son limitados a, consejería individual, grupos de apoyo, asistencia de vivienda, alimentos, transportación médica y enlaces a recursos adicionales.

    Para más información sobre los servicios disponibles para personas viviendo con VIH/SIDA, parejas y familiares, llame al Programa de SIDA del Departamento de Salud Publica del Condado de San Bernardino al (800) 255-6560 o visite el sitio de web www.KnowSBC.com.

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    The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health is urging everyone to know their status and get tested. Photo by Chris Sloan

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections continue at high levels, with an estimated 56,300 Americans becoming infected each year. Additionally, more than 18,000 people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) still die each year in the United States.

    While major strides have been made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, the disease continues its devastating effects on all sectors of American society. The impact however, has become increasingly more serious among women and adults between the ages of 47-65.

    The CDC reports that in 2007 more than a quarter of HIV diagnoses in the United States were among women and girls aged 13 years and older.  Women are more likely to be infected through sex with a male partner.

    Minority women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV infection.  The rate of new HIV infections for African American women is nearly 20 times the rate for white women. The rate of new HIV infection among Hispanic women is nearly four times that of white women.

    In San Bernardino County, African American and Hispanic women together accounted for 83% of HIV diagnoses among women in 2009 and 14% of all HIV diagnoses.

    Many factors contribute to the increasing rates of HIV infection in adults aged 47-65. One contributing factor is that older adults have often been overlooked by targeted education and prevention messages.  Sexually active adults between 47-65 years of age may use condoms less often due to a lower concern of pregnancy, thereby increasing their risk for HIV.

    The use of sexual enhancement medications among this age group also contributes to the increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV.  Further, the lack of communication between adults and their doctors regarding sexual practices contributes to a perceived low HIV risk among this group and a lack of testing.

    In 2008 adults 50 years of age and older represented 17 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States, Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health attributes this to “the simple reason that older people don’t get tested for HIV on a regular basis.”

    Although HIV is a manageable disease, education and prevention continue to be the ultimate goal in stopping the spread of infection among all groups, especially women and adults ages 47-64.

    It is important to be aware of specific challenges faced by women and adults ages 47-64 and to ensure that they are informed and know how to protect themselves from infection. Dr. Ohikhuare states that, “Testing is key in HIV prevention and I encourage everyone to make HIV testing part of their routine medical care.”
    For more information about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health AIDS Program at (800) 255-6560, or visit the website at WWW.KnowSBC.com.


    People of Color Hit Hardest By HIV/AIDS Infections

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) An estimated 56,300 Americans are newly infected with HIV (the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes AIDS) each year, and 1.1 million Americans live with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 21 percent of HIV-positive people don’t know they are infected and many did not know they were at risk of contracting the virus.

    People of color continue to be at a disproportionate risk for HIV infection. Nearly half of all new infections, 45 percent, were among African Americans, who account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population.  Hispanic Americans account for 17 percent of new infections, but only comprise about 15 percent of the U.S. population.

    According to the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health 2009 Morbidity Report, African Americans and Hispanic Americans account for just over half of the County’s population and outnumber any other ethnic group impacted by HIV.  Together, they account for approximately six out of 10 of those reported to be living with HIV/AIDS.

    “It is important to remember that HIV is transmitted primarily by unprotected sexual behavior and sharing needles for drug use,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. “Testing is key to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care.”

    HIV/AIDS now ranks as the third leading cause of death for African Americans and fifth leading cause of death for male and female Hispanic Americans, ages 35 to 44.  “Early detection is extremely important for linking people who are HIV positive to medical care, reducing the mortality rate and greatly improving quality of life,” noted Dr. Ohikhuare.

    Rapid and Standard HIV Antibody testing is available through the AIDS program at the San Bernardino County Public Health Clinic located at 799 East Rialto Avenue in the city of San Bernardino.  Testing is offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Standard HIV Antibody testing is offered by appointment.  To make an appointment, call (800) 722-4777.

    For more information about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health AIDS program at (800) 255-6560, or visit the website at www.sbcounty.gov/pubhlth.



    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Un estimado de 56.300 estadounidenses son infectados con el VIH (el virus de la inmunodeficiencia humano que causa el SIDA) cada año, y 1.1 millones de  estadounidenses viven con el VIH/SIDA. Es estimado que 21% de las personas que son VIH positivas no saben que están infectadas y muchas de estas personas no sabían que estaban en riesgo de contraer el virus.

    El riesgo de contraer el VIH es desproporcionadamente más alto para las personas de color. Casi la mitad de las nuevas infecciones, el 45%, fueron entre la comunidad afro-americana, que representa solo el 12% de la población. Los hispano-americanos tuvieron el 17% de nuevas infecciones y representan el 15% de la población.

    Según el Reporte de Morbilidad del 2009 del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de San Bernardino, los afro-americanos y los hispano-americanos son un poco más de la mitad de la población del condado y son los grupos étnicos mas impactados por el VIH y SIDA.  Juntos representan aproximadamente seis de cada diez personas reportadas viviendo con VIH/SIDA.

    “Es importante recordar que el VIH es transmitido principalmente por tener relaciones sexuales sin protección y compartiendo agujas o jeringas para drogarse,” dice el Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Oficial de Salud, Condado de San Bernardino Departamento de Salud Publica. “Hacerse el examen del VIH es la clave para la prevención, tratamiento y cuidado del VIH/SIDA.”

    EL VIH/SIDA es la tercera causa principal de muertes en los afro-americanos, y la quinta causa de muerte para hombres y mujeres hispano-americanos entre las edades de 35 a 44. “La detección temprana es extremadamente importante para conectar a las personas que tienen el VIH con cuidado médico y reducir las tasas de mortalidad y para mejorar la calidad de vida” nota el Dr. “Ohikhuare.

    Pruebas para detectar el VIH, rápida y estándar, están disponibles a través del programa de SIDA en la Clínica de Salud Publica localizada en 799 East Rialto Avenue en la ciudad de San Bernardino.  Las pruebas son ofrecidas los lunes, miércoles, y viernes de 8:30 a.m. a 4:30 p.m.  Pruebas estándar del VIH también son ofrecidas por sita. Para hacer una cita llame al (800) 722-4777.

    Para mas información sobre el VIH/SIDA y las pruebas, llame al Condado de San Bernardino, Departamento de Salud Publica programa de SIDA al (800) 255-6560, o visite el sitio de la web en www.sbcounty.gov/pubhlth.

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