A world renowned expert on the issue of HIV/AIDS was in the Midlands talking about this state's growing problem on Monday. The number or HIV infected people continues to climb, as health officials continue to fight the virus.
It's an international effort with South Carolina ties. On Monday Dr. Luc Montagnier made a stop on the campus of Claflin University. In 2008 Montagnier won the Nobel Prize for discovering HIV. He is still researching the virus today.
"A new kind of medicine; what I call the P4 medicine preventive, predictive, personalized and participatory," said Dr. Montagnier.
Dr. Bambi Gaddist of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, calls Montagnier's discovery a milestone; but the work continues.
"We have to stop it. We have to slow down it's progression," said Dr. Bambi Gaddist. "South Carolina has gone from ninth in the country, to eighth in the country."
A ranking no one wants. Dr. Gaddist says improving those numbers begins with education.
"When people don't want to talk about it you'll see within rural communities that this disease has taken hold," said Dr. Gaddist. "We have to move this conversation into family's kitchens, and moving it into people's churches and moving into people's businesses."
From residents to city leaders, Dr. Gaddist knows the issue surrounding HIV doesn't discriminate.
"It has to begin within and among those leaders; within those person's who have their fingers on the pulse of their communities," said Dr. Gaddist.
A global concern, sitting in our own backyard.