World AIDS Day December 1: A day of hope

“HIV is no longer a terminal diagnosis. People with HIV are not doomed to get AIDS; however they need to be committed to their health.”

That’s the hopeful World AIDS Day message from Cindy Goetting, HIV case manager/program manager at Carle with 25-years of experience in HIV care. And, she says now almost everyone with HIV can afford the treatment.

“Insurance plans now cover the highly-specialized medications that can control the virus and allow people to lead a normal life.  There are also prescription assistance programs available which make the lifesaving treatment available to those who need it,” Goetting said.

Carle’s program sees more than 400 HIV positive patients who live throughout central Illinois.  The Carle HIV team coordinates with the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, Frances Nelson Health Center, Greater Community AIDS Project and other local agencies and is dedicated to providing quality HIV care to every patient. 

Goetting said, “Carle provides best practice care for all patients with HIV. Each patient in our clinic receives case management, medical treatments and follow-up encouraging them to continue taking their medicine and keep getting routine check-ups.” 

She advised, “The first step is to get tested for HIV. The virus strikes all people no matter their gender, race or sexual orientation.” 

Ten states accounted for 65-percent of HIV diagnoses in 2011, and Illinois is in that top ten.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people ages 13-64 be tested for HIV as a part of routine medical care.  The CDC reports that nearly one in five people with HIV do not know they are infected, do not get proper medical care and can pass the virus on to others without knowing it.

Carle’s HIV team supports the CDC screening recommendations and encourages people to talk to their primary care physician about testing.