New Jersey commemorates World AIDS Day as advocates fight HIV epidemic

Friday marked World AIDS Day – a day meant to raise awareness and destigmatize an illness that still disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, as well as those who are gay or bisexual.
The New Jersey Department of Health recognized organizations helping people with HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – and organizations trying to end the HIV epidemic.
Approximately 1.2 million people have HIV in the United States and about 13% of them don’t know they have it, according to health officials.
“They may not become aware of it until later on at a point when the disease has progressed, and they actually get sick,” says Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, infectious disease specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care.