Debbie Anne, the HIV/AIDS program supervisor at the Frederick County Health Department, said most couples who come to the department to get tested for HIV are young, and she wishes more would do the same.
People younger than 30 reported a quarter of the state's 2,000 new HIV cases in 2006, and the highest number of diagnoses over the last several years has been among women ages 15 to 39, according to statistics from the health department.More than 18,000 Marylanders have HIV, and in another 14,000, the virus has progressed to AIDS.
The presence of other sexually transmitted diseases increases the likelihood of acquiring or transmitting HIV, and these diseases are prevalent among young women.A study released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
shows that one in four teenage girls have at least one STD.
that once existed between the number of men contracting HIV and the number of women has now closed," Anne
said, and heterosexual contact is now the No. 1 method of transmission in Maryland.
"Many people don't get tested until they end up in the ER," Anne
said, at which point the disease has likely progressed to AIDS."It's much better to get diagnosed earlier."With treatment, those infected with HIV can die of old age, instead of AIDS, Anne