New statistics show HIV on the rise in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO- New statistics showing HIV cases on the rise in Bexar county.
"I don't like to say that I live with the virus, it lives with me, I empower it,” said Luis Ramirez who is living with HIV.
Luis Ramirez tested positive for HIV in 1993. He says he contracted the disease while injecting drugs. Ramirez says it’s not a disease of the past.
"The virus is not being talked about as much, because people are living longer and because people are living longer, the virus is not talked about enough,” said Ramirez.
San Antonio Metro Health says the HIV diagnosis rate in 2015 went up by 8 percent from 2014.
"The concern is that we are still seeing quite a bit of new HIV cases here in San Antonio,” said Rita Espinoza with San Antonio Metro Health.
Rita Espinoza is the Chief Epidemiologist with Metro Health. She says there is no way to pinpoint what is causing this increase, but several scenarios make some people more at risk than others.
"We think a lot of it has to do with the apps, the mobile apps or apps where people can meet people and have anonymous relationships, those types of things and then individuals are not using condoms, perhaps some individuals are not divulging their status,” said Espinoza.
Now, Ramirez is working as an advocate for the San Antonio Aids Foundation, hoping his story can help in prevention.
"Always assume someone is positive in order to remain negative. You can't tell by looking at somebody if they are HIV positive,” said Ramirez.
The San Antonio AIDS Foundation does free HIV testing 6 days a week at their building off South Hackberry.