COLUMBIA, SC (WCIV) — 18,997. That's how many South Carolinians the director of DHEC, Ali Mansaray says are living with HIV, including AIDS. This coming Saturday is the 30th anniversary of World AIDS day.
"Every county in the state has residents living with HIV, but many South Carolinians remain unaware of their HIV status because they have not received an HIV test," said Ali Mansaray, director of DHEC's STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division.
This year's theme is : "Know Your Status." To promote knowing your status, DHEC is holding free testing events throughout the state:
"During 2015-2016, 1,505 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in S.C.," said Mansaray. "As of December 31, 2016, there were 18,997 residents of South Carolina living with a diagnosis of HIV, including AIDS."
According to the CDC, an estimated 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment.
For more information about World AIDS Day, as well as local HIV testing sites, call DHEC's S.C. AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC's website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.