World AIDS Day, Local Efforts

AIDS counselors say early diagnosis is the key to curbing the disease.

Craig Reynolds was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, and for three years he was in denial. He says he did not seek medical attention until he almost died. It was then he discovered he had aids.

Now, Reynolds is using his life to educate others about the deadly disease

"There is still such significant stigma and fear associated with this disease and it's scary for people to go and get tested to find out what there test results maybe," says Craig.

Sylvia Hubbard runs SHISA, a Tallahassee organization that provides free HIV testing and counseling. She says 35,000 African Americans in Florida have been diagnosed with HIV, and black women are diagnosed more often than men.

"I think more black males need to be involved in getting the message out as well as women taking control of their own lives and making sure men are protected and they need to protect themselves from the virus," Sylvia says.

A virus she says could be controlled if folks find out their HIV status.

"I'll receive my results in two weeks but in some in place you can get your results in just 20 minutes."

Hubbard says knowing your status could be the difference between life and death.