Posted by Ryan Morgan on January 31, 2014 at 9:54 AM
Tell Them‘s January social media campaign asks organizations, programs, and businesses in South Carolina, “What are you doing in 2014 to encourage healthier youth in SC?”
By: Tracey L. Jackson, executive director, Piedmont Care, Inc.
There was a time when HIV/AIDS services did not exist in our community. That changed in 1994 when local public health officials and activists created the Piedmont Care HIV/AIDS Care Consortium – now known as Piedmont Care.
In 2014, Piedmont Care is celebrating 20 years of service to this community. What began as an organization to provide direct care to people living with HIV/AIDS now also encapsulates HIV prevention programs.
Since 1994, we have served more than 1300 people living with HIV/AIDS and their families with case management, medications, outpatient medical care, mental health, dental care, health education and more. As a matter of fact, the first individual enrolled in our services, remains a client. His longevity is a testament to his resilience and the advanced treatment options available through Piedmont Care.
In 2004 Piedmont Care initiated a community HIV prevention program. Since that time, more than 500 people have learned their HIV status and received prevention counseling through our free HIV testing program, and thousands of our neighbors have accessed free condoms and HIV prevention education.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. has changed in the last 20 years. Advances in treatment and prevention have resulted in numerous successes:
- Decline in AIDS related deaths
- Number of new infections remains stable at 50,000 per year
- Significant reduction in mother to child transmissions.
There is still work to do. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, people under the age of 35 account for 56% of new HIV infections and young people ages 13 to 24 account for 26%. In addition, the CDC recommends routine HIV testing for everyone ages 13-64, regardless of perceived risk.
In 2014, Piedmont Care will continue to work with our youth serving partners, like REACH Upstate, to serve youth and their families through:
- Facts based HIV/AIDS education
- Condom and lubricant education
- Community based condom distribution.
Piedmont Care looks forward to working with our partners here and around the world toward an AIDS free generation.