The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is among many Lexington, state, federal and international agencies taking part in World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
The health department is hosting “World AIDS Day 2012: Reflect. Remember. Celebrate” on Dec. 1 at the Lexington Public Library’s downtown branch, 140 E. Main St., as an opportunity for people to show their support for people living with HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those who have died from the disease. Free 20-minute HIV testing will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and a special ceremony will be held 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Despite advances in the understanding of HIV and AIDS, World AIDS Day serves a reminder that the disease still negatively impacts millions of people worldwide and that there is a vital need to increase awareness, improve education and get tested.
The health department offers free anonymous, confidential and same-day testing 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 8:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at 805B Newtown Circle. The program also offers risk reduction counseling, community outreach, group or individual intervention and presentation services and free condoms. For information on the program, call 288-2437.
World AIDS Day first began on Dec. 1, 1988, and helps raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and honors those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. It is estimated there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2009, some 2.6 million people became newly infected with HIV and an estimated 1.8 million died from AIDS. Since its discovery in 1981, AIDS has killed over 25 million people worldwide making it one of the most destructive pandemics in recorded history.
There are ways you can help:
• Raise Awareness – wear a red ribbon on Dec. 1 and talk about HIV/AIDS with friends and family;
• Know Your Status – getting tested for HIV and knowing your status can help to stop the spread of the virus. Encourage those you know and love to get tested, too.
The health department also encourages community members, activists, business leaders and anyone else interested to join the Bluegrass HIV Coalition, which recently formed in Lexington to raise awareness and education about HIV/AIDS. For more information about HIV/AIDS, visit www.bghiv.org or the Bluegrass HIV Coalition’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BluegrassHIV, or call toll-free 1-877-606-2437 or 1-800-420-7431.
Find the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/LFCHD.