NATIONWIDE - A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows some headway in the fight against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, but experts say there's still much to be done
"Right now we're seeing people living with HIV and not knowing because people aren't getting tested as often as they should," said Marcus Sanchez of the Austin Kind Clinic.
That study shows recently diagnosed Americans had been living with the disease for at least three years. That's an encouraging trend because a similar study 6 years ago showed HIV positive people had lived with the virus for longer.
"I think a lot of that is changing with the way we put our messaging out there. Being more positive. This liberation of sex and having the tools to be free of that fear, stigma or shame," said Sanchez.
Advances in medication, like the prep pill, and testing makes it easier for people to know their status.
"I think it's important to get tested so you know where you stand in terms of STIs and HIV. Just general health maintenance," said Austin resident Miguel Vasquez.
A number of health services in Texas offer testing at reduced or no-cost to the patient.
"Just having that test result in front of you and actually knowing where you stand can really ease a lot of your anxiety. So it's something I encourage all of my friends and new people I meet to do--just know where you stand," said Vasquez.
Some say to eradicate the virus, though, it will take a seismic cultural change.
"I think sex is fun--it should be. As long as you're responsible about it--just get tested. I don't think there's anything wrong with being sexually active just be responsible towards yourself and your community," said Vasquez.
That same CDC report shows Texas has one of the highest rates of undiagnosed HIV infection.