AIDS, HIV not an '80s thing

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In Routt County, eight people have been diagnosed with AIDS, 10 people have been diagnosed with HIV, and four people died from AIDS-related causes, according to a Colorado Department of Public Health study that was updated Sept. 30.

Depending on your perspective, that number may seem small, but it does not paint a complete picture. It does not count people who have been tested in places outside of Routt County, and it does not count the people who are carrying the virus but haven't been tested.

"Steamboat is a transient community," said Planned Parenthood health center manager Aimee Quadri. "If they aren't tested here, it's not recorded here."

On average, the Steamboat chapter of Planned Parenthood administers five to eight AIDS/HIV tests each week.

On Wednesday, international health organizations will observe World AIDS Day as a way of reminding people that AIDS is not a problem that was left in the 1980s.

This year's World AIDS Day focus is "Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS."

Worldwide, by the end of 2003, 35.7 million adults and 2.1 million children had AIDS. In that year alone, 4.8 million people became infected.

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the Planned Parenthood office in Steamboat will be offering discounted AIDS/HIV tests.

The clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

A fund-raiser is planned for Wednesday night at Mambo Italiano. Kristi Brown, who owns Mambo Italiano with her husband, Jeff Brown, is a part-time employee of Planned Parenthood. She is offering the proceeds made Wednesday night to Planned Parenthood.

Money raised will be used for Planned Parenthood's general operating costs. In 2002, the clinic lost its Title X funding because some of its clinics offer abortions. (The Planned Parenthood in Steamboat does not.)

On the night of World AIDS Day, dinners at Mambo Italiano will be regular price, but will come with a free dessert. Table tents with information about AIDS and HIV will be spread throughout the restaurant, and red ribbons also will be available.

"We want to raise awareness of this disease," Quadri said. "Awareness is especially important for people who are sexually active in this transient community."

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