On this World AIDS Day, let's not forget that about 56,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year, according to the CDC, and that more than 14,000 Americans with AIDS die each year.
Thanks to more effective and more available treatments, more Americans who have HIV and AIDS are able to live. The CDC estimates this number at more than 1 million nationwide.
Regularly testing people most at risk for HIV – and then providing antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients – dramatically reduces the number of new infections.
Preventing HIV is not complicated. If you're sexually active, get tested. Don't use IV drugs or share needles. Abstain or practice safer sex. With preventive care, patients and their health care providers can fight and manage this disease and slow its spread.
But we can't allow today's more effective treatments to make us complacent or ambivalent, or to lessen our resolve to find a cure.
To learn more or to find a place near you to get tested, visit www.actagainstaids.org.
Dr. Sam Ho, M.D., is the chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare.