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Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:11pm

State Adopts New HIV/AIDS Strategy

Updated: 2 years ago.
Georgia has about 42,000 HIV and AIDS patients and has one the highest infections rate in the country. (photo National Institue of Health)

HIV/AIDS advocates have mixed reactions to the state's new AIDS strategy.

Georgia health officials late last year adopted a national prevention plan that stresses treating patients with new drugs early.

The decision replaces a strategy that made patients wait, sometimes years for treatment until their immune systems weakened.

The new approach costs more up front but also could prevent bigger health problems.

Catharine Teahan of Georgia's AIDS Coalition applauds the move in the recently restructured Division of Public Health.

"When you do treat someone early, you are helping that person to stay healthy longer and that person is less likely to transmit that virus to someone else," Teahan says.

She says, officials have been responsive to patients' concerns.

But other HIV-AIDS advocates are reserving judgment.

Jacqueline Brown of the Atlanta advocacy group Empowerment Resource Center is hesitant to applaud the move, saying it still has many hurdles.

"I think the jury is still out," Brown says. "I think there's just many barriers that prevent people from actually getting into care and actually accessing treatment and until we address those barriers I'm reserved to comment on how successful it will be."

Georgia has about 42,000 HIV and AIDS patients and has one the highest infections rate in the country.