For Immediate Release
November 29, 2011

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

World AIDS Day is December 1

Getting to Zero — Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS-Related Deaths.

Topeka – Everyone should know his or her HIV status.

World AIDS Day is Dec. 1, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages Kansans to participate, if possible, in any of the statewide World AIDS Day events. So far, organizers in six Kansas cities have announced to KDHE they are planning events around this observance: Kansas City, Lawrence, Liberal, Manhattan, Topeka and Wichita.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Getting to Zero – Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS-Related Deaths.”  World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for governments, faith groups, community organizations and businesses to raise awareness and focus attention on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV infection, and one in five of those are unaware of their HIV status. Worldwide, the estimated number of people living with HIV is more than 33 million. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to reflect on the 30-year impact HIV/AIDS has had on our world. This year, take action through education, prevention, and testing to help stop the spread of HIV.

“The first step in preventing HIV from becoming AIDS is to be tested and be tested early,” said Brenda Walker, Director, KDHE’s Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention. “In 2010, 57% of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Kansas were also AIDS diagnoses. Those who first learn of their HIV status when they already have AIDS have less likelihood of keeping their immune systems healthy long term. Testing is crucial for people who are at risk for acquiring HIV. Knowing your HIV status is critical.”

So, why not get tested for HIV today? You can find free testing at many local health departments and community-based organizations by visiting www.hivtest.org. KDHE also encourages you to participate in the many events planned across the state for World AIDS Day, listed below:

Kansas City

Lawrence

Liberal

Manhattan

Topeka

Wichita