For Immediate Release
November 27, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


December 1 is World AIDS Day

“Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership”

On December 1, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will join with partners throughout Kansas in commemorating World AIDS Day. The theme for this year is “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership.”

“If you or your partner have ever been at risk for getting HIV, you absolutely should get tested. HIV testing is available at 90 sites in Kansas,” stated L. William Lyons, Director of the Kansas HIV Program at KDHE. “It’s also a good idea to ask about services that are available and ways to prevent spreading HIV in the future.”

In Kansas as of June 30, 681 individuals were infected with HIV but had not yet progressed to AIDS, and 1,290 were reported to be living with AIDS. Among individuals living with HIV infection (regardless of AIDS status) 57.7 percent (1,137) are white, 25.3 percent (498) are African American, and 13.8 percent (273) are Hispanic.

“While anyone can get HIV, our racial and ethnic communities in Kansas bear a disproportionate share of the burden,” said Sharon Goolsby, Director of the KDHE Center for Health Disparities. “We are focusing our educational and prevention efforts with this in mind.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons at risk be screened for HIV at least annually. Screening is also recommended for patients in all healthcare settings, and as part of routine prenatal screening tests for pregnant women.

More than 3,400 Kansans have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly

1.1 million HIV-positive individuals live in the U.S., and about 40,000 new infections occur every year.

The following activities and events are planned throughout the state in recognition of World AIDS Day, and to provide people with opportunities to learn more about HIV/AIDS and to get tested:

Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP)

The following events are planned by DCAP (contact dcaped@sunflower.com for more information):

Emporia State University
HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, November 26-30

Ottawa University

Sedgwick County Health Department

Positive Directions and Wichita State University
AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT

Contact James Woods at 316-263-2214 or james@positivedirectionsks.com for more information.

Franklin County Health Department

The Kansas HIV/AIDS Program helps educate people to avoid risky behaviors that can spread HIV, and provides screening and treatment services to detect HIV at an early stage and delay it from progressing to AIDS. The program has been working on a variety of fronts, for example:

For more information on the Kansas HIV Program, visit www.kdheks.gov/sti_hiv/.