Belleville, Ill. (PRWEB) June 18, 2013
More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. ages 13 and older are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those, nearly 20 percent don’t know they are infected. In support of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation, the CDC and other organizations are raising awareness of the importance of HIV testing.
The CDC reports about 50,000 new HIV infections each year. Along with developing AIDS, those with HIV have increased risk for serious diseases because of damage to their immune systems. These diseases include pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), tuberculosis and toxoplasmosis.
The CDC urges individuals to know their HIV status through screening to ensure proper treatment, maintain health and lower the risk of spreading the virus. People at risk include those having unprotected sex and using intravenous drugs. Lack of knowledge is a hazard, according to the CDC, because individuals unaware they’ve been infected are not able to take advantage of life-extending therapies. They also don’t know how to protect their partners from infection.
“Advancements in treatment mean those infected with HIV can live long, productive lives,” said Tai Venuti, manager of Strategic Alliances for Allsup. “The earlier treatment starts, the better the prognosis, and getting tested is the first step. Early detection also helps prevent infection in others. Studies show that people who are aware they are infected are more likely to take steps to protect their partners.”
The CDC urges people to spread the word leading up to National HIV Testing Day. This year’s theme is “Take the Test, Take Control.” Free, downloadable posters are available at http://cdcnpin.org/nhtd/posters.aspx.
Social Security Disability and HIV/AIDS
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes HIV as a potentially disabling condition, and one that could qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance is federally mandated insurance that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income programs. It is funded by FICA payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal.
“An accurate diagnosis is the first step in getting the proper care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, including the coordination of available resources and benefits,” Venuti said.
HIV infection alone does not automatically qualify an individual for Social Security benefits. “With the appropriate treatment, people living with HIV may continue to work for many years after their diagnosis,” Venuti clarified.
Allsup assists HIV patients daily in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The condition is evaluated under Social Security’s medical listing 14.08. To be eligible for SSDI, individuals must have medical evidence and documentation that HIV/AIDS has affected their ability to work.
“When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, medical evidence is the key to illustrating how the symptoms of HIV/AIDS have affected your life,” Venuti said. “Because SSDI is a medically based program, it’s crucial to supply this information.”
Call (800) 678-3276 for a free SSDI evaluation. For more information on National HIV Testing Day, visit http://cdcnpin.org/nhtd/home.aspx.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.