Today - on this World AIDS day - in Ohio there are about 16,000 identified cases of people living with HIV/AIDS. However, that number changes significantly when you consider that an estimated 20% of the people infected with the disease aren't aware that they have it.
When the first cases of Aids started showing up, the prognosis for adults with the disease wasn't good. As children began to be born with HIV, The situation was just as dire and death rates were high.
"Early on, we didn't have much treatment we could do to prevent the infection from worsening, so it was really symptomatic care treating the infections, treating the complications, but the mortality was pretty high, and all those kids unfortunately died at a very young age," says Dr. Sherman Alter is the Director of Infectious Diseases at Children's Medical Center of Dayton.
Last week, the Ohio Department of Health announced changes to a national program that serves people living with HIV/AIDS. Changes to the Ryan White program will cut medical services, restrict eligibility, institute a services wait list, and reduce medications currently offered by the program.
Right now more than 14ooo Ohio residents living with HIV/AIDS are served by the program, but escalating costs and a projected state defecit of 16.4mil will cut that number.