Young adults more likely to test positive for HIV

1 year 1 month 2 weeks ago December 01, 2015 Dec 1, 2015 Tuesday, December 01 2015 Tuesday, December 01, 2015 6:13:00 PM CST in News
By: Emma Henderson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - According to the Regional Aids Interfaith Network, people ages 18-25 are more likely to test positive for HIV in mid-Missouri.

Cale Mitchell, executive director of Rain-Central Missouri said testing isn't as popular as it was in the 90's, partially due to the lack of celebrity advocacy and media coverage.

"Over the years that interest has certainly died off and we have a population that are 18-25 year olds who don't know what the face of HIV is any longer, they don't know what the disease can do to an individual.  They've never lived in a world where the treatment is just as bad as the disease, so there's a lot of complacency about getting tested," Mitchell said.

Tuesday is World AIDS Day, and Rain, an organization that tests people for sexually transmitted diseases, is offering free and confidential HIV testing as a part of a larger awareness event.

Mitchell said he doesn't know how many people plan on being tested, but the organization would be able to conduct about 200 tests in the two hours they are offering the walk-in service.

"Cost should not be a barrier to being tested," Mitchell said.

He said it's important for people to know their HIV status so they are able to protect their health and the health of their partners.

Rain was participating in a larger event taking place at Jesse Hall on the Mizzou campus where Greg Louganis, a former Olympic champion would be speaking at 7 p.m. about his life as an HIV positive person.

Multiple panels of the AIDS memorial quilt were also on display in the lobby of Jesse Hall. The entire quilt currently consists of more than 48,000 panels dedicated to more than 94,000 people.

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