HIV Still on the Rise in Maine 

HIV is a preventable disease, yet the number of positive cases in Maine continues to go up.Eastern Maine Aids Network in Bangor is doing its best to prevent the spread of the disease.But as Joy Hollowell tells us, they’re up against some obstacles.====”EMAN goes out into the community on a regular basis, we go to schools, we go to colleges, we go to businesses, we go to agencies and we do HIV prevention education.” Program Manager Sean Weber acknowledges many in the community believe there’s not a need for these programs anymore. “You would think that with it being what 25, 30 years into this. But for some, they still think that, Oh my god, I was near someone that had HIV, does it absorb through the skin? Can I breathe it in?” says Weber.On the other side, says weber, is the group that thinks they can’t get HIV.”We call it the Superman effect,” explains Weber. “It can’t happen to me because I’m rich, or I live in a nice house, I have a good job, I’m over 40, I’m smart. No, it doesn’t care. The disease doesn’t care.”In fact, the highest number of cases right now belong to those 40 and older.”And the unfortunate part,” says Weber, “is that when someone is diagnosed, they’re not diagnosed with HIV, they’re diagnosed with AIDS, which means that they’ve had it for awhile and they did not know it.”Weber says cuts in federal, state and grant funding, have made their job that much more difficult. The group relies on fundraisers to keep their prevention programs going.”Without the education, we’re going to see the numbers skyrocket even more,” says Weber.+++The Red Ribbon Ball is EMAN’S biggest fundraiser of the year.It’s Saturday, February 9th in Bangor.The night starts at 7 p.m. at Spectacular Event Center and includes the Jump City Jazz Band.For more information, including ticket prices, you can call EMAN at 990-3626 or log onto Maine Aids Network dot com.