So far this year, Louisville has reported 126 HIV cases. That’s almost as high as the average number of total cases from 2017 to 2020: 144 per year.
This has the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness increasing screening and prevention measures, as well as urging local healthcare providers to conduct more HIV testing, according to a news release.
Twenty-four cases of HIV were diagnosed in May alone in Louisville.
“We urge all sexually active individuals to get tested for HIV and request that physicians include HIV screening as a part of regular care,” said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, associate medical director for the Department of Public Health and Wellness in a statement. “If anyone tests positive for HIV their sexual partners should also be tested for it. We can do that confidentially and we can also make sure people get connected to treatment so they can continue to lead long, productive lives.”
HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions or breast milk. According to the health department, a person’s risk of exposure to HIV increases when:
- They don’t know their status or the status of their partners
- They have unprotected sex
- They have unprotected sex with multiple partners
- They share drug injection supplies
- They use stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine which increase sexual desire
- They have underlying sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, syphilis or gonorrhea.
There are eight locations in Louisville where individuals can receive free HIV testing, as well as clean syringes, provided by the health department and UK. Find a list here. The health department recommends never sharing needles.
The health department and community partners also provide free condoms at over 50 locations throughout the city. You can find out where here.
If you test positive for HIV, the Kentucky Department of Health can work with you to confidentially track and test all your sexual contacts. They also work to ensure anyone who tests positive gets connected to medical treatment.