World AIDS Day this Sunday to bring awareness to prevention, treatment costs

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This Sunday is World AIDS Day, and while HIV and AIDS are more treatable than decades ago, the cost of treatment could ruin your finances.

There are about 39,000 new HIV infections every year in the U.S. and it could affect anyone.

About half of all infected are in the southern states where access to prevention and treatment can be limited, cost plays a role in that as well.

Marissa Breedon lives in Southwest Florida and says HIV has been a part of her life for 28 years.

Though she is alive and well today, when she was diagnosed, for many it was a death sentence.

“I was diagnosed one month before Magic Johnson went public in 1991,” said Breedon.

Her message to everyone ahead of the upcoming World AIDS Day is to get tested.

It is estimated that more than one million people live with HIV in the U.S., and about 165,000 don’t know they have the virus.

Dr. Jose Quero treats people in Immokalee at the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida,  and they take care of about 160 patients.

Treatments for Americans can cost as much as $40,000 a year, according to Medicaid. gov.

“While it is eminently treatable nowadays, it’s very expensive,” Dr. Quero said.

Even drugs to help prevent the disease, known as prep, are costly.

For example, the Kaiser Family Foundation says one prescription will cost you $2,000 and a month without insurance.

However, there are patient assistance programs and drug manufacturer coupons that can save you money.

The centers for disease control and prevention has a testing site locator map that you can locate here.



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