World AIDS Day Dec. 1
Events Scheduled in Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita
TOPEKA, Kan. - World AIDS Day is Dec. 1, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages Kansans to participate in any one of the events scheduled for this week and next week in the Lawrence area, Topeka and Wichita. Event details are listed below.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” This annual observance provides an opportunity for governments, faith groups, community organizations, businesses and communities to raise awareness and focus attention on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the U.S., nearly 1.1 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 35 million. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to reflect on the 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, KDHE Director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention. “Too many 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 engaging in behaviors that can transmit 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. Here are some of the events planned in Kansas:
- The Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP) will provide free confidential HIV testing on Monday, Dec. 2, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., in the alcoves of the KU Student Union, 1301 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence. Look for the info table in the lobby on the 4th floor. For more information please contact KT West at (785) 843-0040.
- The Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP) will provide free confidential HIV testing on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 10:00 am. - 2:00 p.m., at Ottawa University Student Union, located at 1001 S Cedar Street, Ottawa. For more information please contact KT West at (785) 843-0040.
- Positive Connections (formerly known as the Topeka AIDS Project), working with leaders from a variety of faith communities, will offer an interfaith service and candlelight memorial beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, located at 4775 SW 21st Street, Topeka. Free rapid HIV testing will be available before and after the service. Food pantry donations for the Positive Connections Food Pantry are welcomed and appreciated. For more information on this event please contact Positive Connections at (785) 232-3100.
- Positive Connections will offer free confidential rapid HIV testing and prevention information at The Lofts at College Hill located at 1425 SW Lane, Topeka on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. This event is open to the public. For more information please contact Positive Connections at (785) 232-3100.
- The KU School of Medicine/KU Midtown, in collaboration with, EC Tyree Clinic, First Metropolitan Community Church, Hunter Health Clinic , the Kansas AIDS Education and Training Center, Positive Directions, Sedgwick County Health Department , The Center , Wichita HIV Faith Collaborative and Wichita Indian United Methodist Church, will host a commemorative walk, memorial program and chili cook-off on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2:00 p.m. The program will include music, speakers, and reading of names from people who have lost their lives to AIDS. Chili cook-off money voting donations will go to benefit the Sweet Emergency Fund and Positive Directions. For more information contact Teresa Romey at (316) 293-3427.
- The Sedgwick County Health Department will offer free conventional venipuncture HIV testing on Monday, Dec. 2 during clinic hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 2716 W Central, Wichita. Appointments are preferred, but walk-in appointments will be available. For more information please contact Sedgwick County Health Department at (316) 660-7300.
For more information on the Kansas HIV/AIDS program go to http://www.kdheks.gov/hiv/index.html or contact Jennifer VandeVelde, STI/HIV Section Chief, at 785-296-6544.