‘People still die from it,’ World AIDS Day event held at State House

South Carolina is playing a role as part of a national strategy to end the HIV epidemic.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — South Carolina is playing a role as part of a national strategy to end the HIV epidemic. In honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control joined with other agencies for a day-long event on Monday. ‘Ending the Epidemics S.C’ was held at the State House.

“Although it seems like today that it’s not visible, people still die from it. They die from stigma, they die because they don’t know they can’t go get help. Not just in foreign countries, but right here in America and right here in South Carolina,” said David Pable, Community Co-Chair with the S.C. HIV Planning Council. Pable is also on the committee for Ending the Epidemics campaign.

S.C. is fighting to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

“South Carolina is dedicated to eliminating HIV, as well as STD’s, hepatitis C and substance abuse disorders. So we’re all gathered here today to share more information, as well as to support people who are living with HIV,” said De’Ashia Lee, Training and Logistics Coordinator with DHEC Central Office.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, nearly 20,000 South Carolinians are living with a diagnosed HIV infection, including AIDS.

“We have to use our voice to be able to help those behind us who are just finding out. Because I know it is very traumatic and if there’s something I can do today to help the person who is just finding out, I’m glad to be here,” said Pable.

Pable was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. Now, he’s working to help fight the epidemic in South Carolina.

“World Aids Day to me is definitely a day that I can reflect on all those who have gone before me. And it’s also a time that I can reflect a little bit about myself of what more can I do today?” he said,

World AIDS Day also serves as a reminder for people to get tested, because early detection is key.

“It’s still important for people to take their medication, it’s still important for people to get tested,” said Lee.

On Dec. 3, DHEC is sponsoring no-cost testing for HIV, STD’s and hepatitis C at health care offices around the state. It’s a good opportunity to go get tested in case you’ll need treatment.

For more information, click here.

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