MIAMI (CBSMiami) – December 1st, every year since 1988, is World AIDS Day—a day which gives people the chance to show their support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died.READ MORE: Broward Commissioner Dale Holness To Run For Late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ Congressional Seat
This year, the theme of Worlds AIDS Day’s theme is Focus, Partnership and Achieve: an AIDS-free generation.
For Patrick Tousley, living with HIV, life has been filled with of ups and downs.
At 14, Tousley began experimenting with drugs. By the time he was 19, he was using crystal meth, having unprotected sex and eventually, on February 22, 2012, Tousley learned the devastating news that he was HIV positive.
“I used other people’s needles,” said Tousley. “I believe that’s how I contracted it.”
Two and a half years after his diagnosis, life for Tousley is much different.
“Today, my life is amazing,” Tousley said.
Tousley, told CBS4’s Ted Scouten smiling, he’s excited about finishing college and most importantly—he’s healthy and grateful his treatment through Broward House is working so well.
“No one thinks it’s going to be them. That’s the thing. And I thought it wasn’t going to be me. It is me!”Tousley said.READ MORE: Wynwood Comes Alive On First Night Countywide Curfew Is Lifted
Dr. Ana Puga treats kids at Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center. Over the past few years, she’s noticed an alarming trend.
“A few years back, my young people coming in acquiring HIV through sex were 17, 18, 19-years-old and now they’re 13, 14, 15-years-old,” Dr. Puga noted.
In Florida Miami-Dade ranks number one for the most new cases of HIV with Broward right behind.
In Miami-Dade – one in 99 people is living with HIV or Aids – in Broward it’s one in 88.
Dr. Puga said that one way to stop infection is simple – know your status.
“If everybody knew their status and everybody used protection who should use protection, we could stop the virus from going from person to person and we could start and aids free generation.”
Until then, Dr. Puga explained that with proper care, most people, like Tousley, should live a normal lifespan.
“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the world,” said Tousley.Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?