DHEC, advocates hold event for World AIDS Day


In honor of World AIDS Day, DHEC and other advocates met at the State House to raise awareness on efforts to end the HIV and AIDS epidemics.

The event recognizes those who have lost their lives to the virus, or who have been diagnosed.

South Carolina’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, says she wants people to know that HIV is now treatable and controllable.

“We have medications now that can suppress the virus to prevent it from having an effect on the immune system, so that people can live normal, healthy lives, if they take access to available medications and healthcare,” says Dr. Bell.

Estoria Wright was diagnosed with HIV in 2014 and spoke at today’s event.

“I’m happy that I’m living victoriously with this diagnosis. I can stand on top of a mountain and scream, I’m alive! I made it!” says Wright.

“It feels really great to know that people, especially young people, that if they contract HIV, they can have a full life. Like I said myself I’m at 20 years now and that was my expiration date. That was what the doctor told me when I first found out I was HIV positive, and today — it’s unlimited,” says David Pable who was diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago.

Pable also hopes that stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS diminishes as treatment options get better and better, saying, “Today we have a big tool box of things that we can do. Number one is getting tested. Number two we have PrEP. And then one of the greatest things for someone living with HIV is undetectable means un-transmittable.”

DHEC offered free HIV testing at the State House and other locations today. To schedule testing, visit DHEC’s website here.

Categories: Health, State