World AIDS Day: Know your status

BOISE - Treatments have come a long way for HIV since it was first discovered in 1981.

Now those living with the virus that causes AIDS are hopeful for a cure one day.

The Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS, or ALPHA, nonprofit's mission is to educate the public, urge people to get tested and support those living with the disease.

All that is required for an HIV test is a small sample of blood from your finger, and you know your results before leaving the office.

All of their services are non-fee based including testing for other sexually transmitted infections. They even have a food pantry for their clients.

On World AIDS Day Thursday, you're reminded that HIV testing is recommended every three months for homosexual men and once a year for heterosexuals. Anyone with multiple partners is at a higher risk.

"World AIDS Day has a little bit more of a different meaning probably today than it may have when it first started in that we really do still want to remember all those that did die from this terrible disease," says JJ Scheuerer, director of operations for ALPHA, 575 N. 8th St. in Boise. "But, at the same time we want to remind people that they need to get tested."

Scheuerer says the sooner the infection can be detected the better so that you can potentially live a longer life and avoid infecting others.

A new drug called PrEP can be taken to prevent HIV in first place. Contact the ALPHA office for more information by dialing (208) 424-7799. You can also find them on Facebook or visit http://www.alphaidaho.org.

You can show your support on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 7-9:30 p.m. at the The Balcony Club in Boise. The Red Dress Party is a fundraiser for ALPHA and prizes will be handed out.

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