RENO, NV - “It's the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Donna Steadman about being diagnosed with HIV.
It seems a strange thing to say, but she says the diagnosis prompted her to make important changes in her life to improve her physical and emotional heath.
She was 36-year-old when she got the news.
Back then side effects of the medications were worse than the symptoms of the disease, but she says advancements in treatment have improved the quality of her life.
Now she says she takes one pill once a day, and there are no side effects.
At the World Aids Day Symposium in Reno Thursday, Dr Trudy Larson of the University of Nevada Reno talked about challenges facing our community.
She says thanks to early testing, no babies have been born with HIV in Washoe County in 18 years.
Many adults are still testing positive in our community though.
Dr. Larson says most new infections are found in people over 50.
“Some of them may be women who've been married most of their lives and now they're divorced,” she says “and when they were young they didn't understand condom negotiation.”
Where AIDS was once a death sentence it can now be managed with drugs, but only if you get tested and know your status.