According to AIDS United, one of five people infected with HIV are unaware they have the disease. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported 514 new cases of HIV and AIDS in 2010, but there could be additional undiagnosed cases.
In conjunction with World AIDS Day on December 1, 2011, The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis is raising money through its KNOW POSITIVE text-to-give campaign to fund 500 additional rapid HIV tests. A rapid HIV test not only gets people who test positive for HIV into medical care more quickly, it also prevents further exposure to the disease from those who may not know they are infected.
“The best way to stop the spread of HIV is through prevention. The best prevention is for people to know their HIV status and that of their sexual partners,” said Betty Wilson, President and CEO of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, which operates the Indiana AIDS Fund. “We want to provide more tests so more people, especially the younger generation that doesn’t seem to be as aware of HIV, can know their status.” Forty-six percent of all new HIV diagnoses in Indiana last year were in people age 30 or younger, according to the ISDH.
“HIV is affecting people in what is supposed to be their most productive years,” said Carrie Carter, a medical social worker for LifeCare at Indiana University Health, an Indiana AIDS Fund grant recipient. “I always tell patients that in order to live a successful life, they must take control of their HIV.”
To participate in the KNOW POSITIVE campaign, simply text the word “KNOW” to 20222. Each text results in a $10 donation to the Indiana AIDS Fund. The Health Foundation will donate one HIV test to an Indiana AIDS service organization for each text donation. The $10 donation will be added to your cellular phone bill. Standard text messaging fees also apply. “When you text “KNOW” to 20222, that’s one more person in the know,” said Wilson.
The Health Foundation will distribute KNOW POSITIVE cards and bracelets at World AIDS Day events across Indianapolis. In addition, they will share the text-to-give information on Facebook and Twitter. The Indiana AIDS Fund is a program of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, dedicated to supporting HIV/AIDS service programs in Indiana. Each year, the Indiana AIDS Fund provides grants to community-based organizations through the state for HIV education, prevention and treatment programs for women, women of color, youth, under-served communities and men having sex with men.