Today’s events marking World AIDS Day are centered on the continuing stigmas to which people who are infected with H-I-V and AIDS are subjected according to Myke Selha, spokesman for the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. Selha says Iowans are still losing their housing and their jobs because of discrimination against people who have AIDS or who are H-I-V-positive, “even though most people by now should be aware of how AIDS is transmitted and that it’s not something you contact on a daily basis.” He says discrimination is not limited to big cities on the coasts. Selha says Iowans are discriminating against Iowans. He says once or twice a month someone will come into the Des Moines office who has lost their job after revealing their AIDS status. He says such cases are difficult for the victim to prove. Selha says he also hears frequent cases where Iowans will lose their apartments because landlords don’t want word to get out someone with AIDS lives there. Statistics show 1136 Iowans are now living with H-I-V or AIDS and 16 Iowans have died from it this year. Selha says those numbers fluctuate. A report shows the following breakdown of Iowans with AIDS or HIV by county: Polk, 299; Scott, 121; Johnson, 84; Black Hawk, 69; Linn, 67; Woodbury, 50; Pottawattamie, 46; Story, 26; Dubuque, 21; Clinton, 21; Marshall, 19; Cerro Gordo, 11, and in all Iowa prisons, 59. The first Iowa AIDS death was reported in 1982. Since then, 833 Iowans have died from AIDS.
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