For Immediate Release
February 27, 2012

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

KDHE Announces HIV/AIDS Awareness Events Occurring in March

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announces two HIV/AIDS Awareness events in early March. National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is March 4-10, and National Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is March 10. Communities commemorate these two events to raise awareness that HIV and AIDS affect people from all demographics, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

KDHE would like to encourage all Kansans to get tested for HIV. Knowing your HIV status now and getting proper healthcare if you are HIV-positive is much better than finding out too late.

“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 percent 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.”

Several organizations throughout Kansas will offer events to commemorate National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS and National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Some of these events include:

National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS

Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

For further information about awareness events in Kansas, please contact Travis Barnhart, HIV Prevention Director at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, at 785-296-1037 or tbarnhart@kdheks.gov. Visit www.nationalweekofprayerforthehealingofaids.org for more info on the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS and www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/ for more info on National Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Additionally you can find HIV counseling and testing sites near you at http://www.hivtest.org.