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Durham Officials Claim County Has 2nd Highest Rate Of New HIV Cases In State

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DURHAM, N.C. — Health officials claim Durham County has the second highest rate of new HIV cases in the state with a 33 percent increase in recent years. The statistic has some people in the Bull City calling for education and tolerance.

Carrying signs of awareness and hope, hundreds of residents marched through downtown Durham Sunday, lighting candles to pay tribute to those who have died and those who live with HIV and AIDS.

"The stigma and discrimination is still an important problem that our patients face in everyday care. We hope that by raising consciousness, this will help to decrease the amount of discrimination that they suffer," said Dr. John Bartlett, of the Duke Infectious Diseases Clinic.

Jose, who asked not to be identified, said he has felt that discrimination. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, though, he speaks out so others can understand.

"I want all parents out here to know. You guys need to talk to your kids about STDs, HIV and sex. I know it's hard, but you got to do it," he said. "I want other young people to know that it is out there. It is true. You can get it."

Health officials claim nine people die from AIDS every day in North Carolina. Five new cases of HIV are diagnosed every day in the state. Worldwide, 16,000 new people are infected with the virus daily.

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