WACO, Texas — Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, a day to remember the lives lost from HIV, as well as celebrate the medical advancements made over the decades.
“It is a day that we remember those we have lost and celebrate those that are still with us but also it is a day to remember that we still have this disease with us,” Rob Faubion, Chair member with the HIV & Aging Conference, said.
And Faubion knows firsthand how AIDS can impact a person's life.
“My husband is HIV positive and has been for over 30 years,” Faubion said. "We still do not have a cure for HIV or for AIDS and it is still a threat to the health of many in our community.”
But, there are ways to stop the spread and protect yourself and doctors encourage the community to get tested for HIV.
“Knowing your status and knowing your partner's status, that is really important. We have medicines that not only control HIV but also the spread of it,” Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan County Health District said.
While doctors are still working on finding a cure, the medical field has made incredible advances in the past 30 years.
“This is the first generation that will be dying with HIV, not from HIV,” Faubion said.
“HIV used to be a death sentence," Craine explained. "Now with proper treatment and early recognition, you can live a long happy healthy life.”
And Faubion’s husband is living proof of just that.
“He is in great health, his viral load is undetectable, his t-cell count is through the roof so for all intents and purposes his disease is under control,” Faubion said.
And health experts believe that with more technology and research, we are getting closer and closer to a cure.
“Times have changed, medicines have improved, understanding of HIV has changed and now we can celebrate so many of the important accomplishments that have been made,” Craine said.
On Friday, Dec. 3, the Health District will be hosting a free HIV testing event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone is welcome to get tested and participants will also receive gift cards.