The state Department of Health and Human Services said for the first quarter of 2012, there were only three reported cases of HIV in Scotland County.
We are not sure whether to cheer or jeer that news.
While it is good to see that the local figure is so low — nearby Cumberland County reported 28 HIV cases for the same time period — Scotland didn’t have any reported cases of HIV for the first quarter of 2010 or 2011.
There was a single reported case of AIDS in Scotland County for the January to March 2012, according to state health officials. In the surrounding counties, there were eight reported cases of HIV in Robeson and two reported cases in Richmond.
We have to wonder if the rate of HIV/AIDS in our county would be higher if more Scotland County residents got tested.
The Centers for Disease Control is certainly urging people to find out their status. The CDC recommends that people ages 13-64 get tested for HIV at least once.There is even something called National HIV Testing Day on June 27. It is an annual day to encourage individuals to be tested for HIV.
Our own health officials are pushing such testing locally. Scotland County’s HIV Education and Resource Team, also known as H.E.A.R.T., will sponsor a walk-a-thon on June 23 at Scotland High School track. The event will highlight the importance of HIV testing, awareness, and prevention.
We hope that residents here will take advantage of this effort. HIV testing will be done on-site that day by Scotland County Health Department and is both free and confidential.
Remember that knowledge about HIV/AIDS is power. Empower yourself.
If you have any questions, you can contact Tina Clark at the Scotland County Health Department by calling 277-2440 ext. 4466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.