Today is World AIDS Day!
Countries across the globe are uniting with a common theme for World AIDS Day, held every Dec. 1. “End isolation. End stigma. End HIV transmission,” information on worldaidsday.org states. “This World AIDS Day, join the fight to end the negative impact of HIV.”
In Lexington, start by knowing your status. In Kentucky, as many as 25 percent of the people with HIV don’t know they have it. Getting tested is the first step in allowing HIV-positive individuals to begin medical treatment, which is important to live a long, healthy life.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department offers free, confidential HIV tests 8:30-11 a.m. every Friday at 650 Newtown Pike. An oral HIV antibody tests takes about 20 minutes for results, and a fingerstick takes 1-15 minutes. If either test comes back reactive, free confirmatory testing is available.
It doesn’t stop with testing, though. The health department provides referrals for HIV-positive people to HIV care, support services and support groups, all of which work to improve daily life for those who have HIV. As of June 30, 2016, Kentucky had 9,928 people reported as living with HIV, including 947 in Fayette County. Our goal is to help each of those people live healthy lives and to help stop the spread of future HIV cases throughout the Bluegrass.
World AIDS Day is also a chance to celebrate, and this year, we’ll be part of Bluegrass Pride’s “Celebration of Life” 7-9 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Lyric Theatre, 300 E. Third St. This free event will feature a variety of musicians and performers, refreshments and anonymous HIV testing from AVOL. This special event helps remind the community “there is still life with HIV,” so make plans today to attend!
You can also check out our Healthy Times radio interview about World AIDS Day with Mark Johnson and Charles Crutcher: Healthy Times radio interview.
The first segment of the show was also featured on Facebook Live: Healthy Times World AIDS Day Facebook Live.