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World AIDS Day December 1 2017

By Public Health Communications

November 27, 2017

Palm Beach County--Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County along with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) observes December 1st each year as World AIDS Day. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, establishing an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness, and to inspire the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

"World AIDS Day is an excellent opportunity for everyone to recognize that HIV/AIDS exists in our community and to help our community achieve zero new infections and improve the quality of life for those infected," said Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Director Dr. Alina Alonso. Alonso added there are over 8,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the County and new infections continue to be diagnosed every day.

World-wide an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and an estimated 1.8 million new infections occur each year, yet only 19.5 million people who are living with HIV are currently accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Ending AIDS as a public health threat can only happen when quality health care is available and accessible for everyone and leaves no one behind.

The global spread of HIV necessitates a worldwide effort to increase communication, education and action to stop the spread of HIV. Numerous organizations in the County have planned events, educational displays, memorials and testing beginning on the first and throughout the following week. Dr. Alonso recommends that all should get involved by getting tested, talking with a health care provider about your risks for HIV, volunteer at a local AIDS-service organization or HIV test site. Wear the red ribbon as a symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV and keep the conversation going.

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