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Experts Say AIDS Is Over In Australia

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The AIDS epidemic is over down under, BuzzFeed reports. While during the height of the epidemic in the early ’90s, more than 1,000 people died of AIDS per year in Australia, today. Today the number is so low that they’re not even keeping track. Now with that out of the way, HIV and AIDS activists, organizations, and researchers are asking their fellow Australians to end HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

From BuzzFeed:

“The AIDS public health threat has morphed into an HIV prevention challenge,” said Professor Andrew Grulich, head of the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Program at the Kirby Institute, Australia’s peak HIV research body.

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations CEO Darryl O’Donnell told BuzzFeed News the condition people have “so long feared” is no longer seen in Australia in the way it is remembered from the ’80s and ’90s.

“People diagnosed with HIV can live a full and healthy life, with a normal life expectancy,” he said. “HIV is still an incredibly serious illness, and there’s no easy road for it. But it is not a death sentence.”

With today’s advanced HIV management medication, individuals diagnosed with HIV can lower their viral count to an undetectable load. It doesn’t mean that they are cured of HIV, but it does mean that they can live long, healthy, lives without dying of AIDS. An undetectable viral load also drastically lowers the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

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While Australia has AIDS bragging rights, America still has some work to do. An estimated 13,712 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2012. Although, as the CDC points out, the deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis can also be due to any cause, accident, old age, or anything unrelated to AIDS.

Approximately 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV, and one in eight are unaware of their status.

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