Minnesota has seen 286 new cases of HIV/AIDS in the past year, with 23 percent of those happening in Greater Minnesota. December is National AIDS Awareness Month and Paul Skrbec with St. Paul-based JustUs Health told the KMRS Community Connection that those numbers for the rural areas are on the rise. He said there is a lot of speculation as to why cases are increasing in rural America nationwide.

“In the major population centers across the country the information is readily accessible. But in places that are not in large population centers, the information is more scarce. And that is one of the things that really quite dangerously feeds HIV transmission is lack of information and lack of knowledge.”

With new treatment options available, those with HIV are now able to live for many decades. Confidential testing is available with the Planned Parenthood clinic in Alexandria. Information on how the disease is transmitted and how to manage it can all be found at JustUsHealth.org.. The AIDS Line also operates weekdays with the Greater Minnesota number at 800-248-2437.

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