HIV and AIDS patients different in Yakima than around the state - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

HIV and AIDS patients are different in Yakima than around the state

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YAKIMA, Wash- The face of HIV and AIDS is different in the Yakima Valley than in most other parts of the state.

New Hope Clinic  is the only dedicated HIV/AIDS treatment center in all of South Central Washington.  They serve about 300 people from Cle Elum to Pendleton; 175 live in the Yakima Valley.

The typical age of their new patients is 38 and they even diagnosed someone over 60 this year.  They don't believe that older clientele means people are being infected later in life.  Instead New Hope says that many of their patients from Yakima had been unknowingly living with the disease for seven to eight years, thereby increasing the chance that they passed it to someone else.

"Just knowing it, not even being on meds or doing anything else, just knowing it will decrease the amount of transmission because people will make different choices when they're infected", says Debra Adams of the New Hope Clinic.

Adams says many people incorrectly assume that when they go for a doctor's check-up they are automatically tested for HIV.  But most often you have to specifically request an HIV test if you want it.