Showing posts with label World AIDS Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World AIDS Day. Show all posts

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1 Marks World AIDS Day: Denver Public Health Supports PrEP as Tool to Reduce HIV Transmission Rates

Dale Britt and Brian LeMaire have been together for 26 years. For all but one of those months, Brian has been living with HIV. And, in all of their years together, Dale has never tested positive for the virus.

The first day of December is World AIDS Day, providing an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, support people living with HIV, and remember people who have died. It also provides an opportunity to increase awareness of and support for prevention tools, including the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV.

A person who does not have HIV uses PrEP to prevent themselves from becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus. The medication (Truvada) is taken once a day, and it works by limiting HIV’s ability to enter into and grow within a person’s body. When used correctly, PrEP has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing HIV. PrEP is just one tool that will reduce transmission rates of HIV. Other forms of prevention include testing, counseling, adherence to treatment among people living with HIV, and education. 

Dr. Mark Thrun
“PrEP is not prescribed lightly, and we require the person using it to commit to counseling, correct use, and routine HIV and medical testing,” says Mark Thrun, MD, director, HIV/STD Prevention and Control, Denver Public Health. “But when we have this commitment, we know that PrEP is incredibly effective in keeping those at increased risk for HIV free from infection.”

Denver Public Health recommends PrEP for people who do not have HIV infection and are at increased risk for HIV, including:

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who engage in unprotected sex.
  • HIV-negative individuals (men and women) who have an HIV-positive sexual partner.
  • Injection drug users.
Dale and Brian lived through the advent of HIV care as we know it today – antiretroviral therapy (ART). The road was not always easy. And though the couple lost many friends to HIV along the journey, they always remained optimistic and never gave up the fight against HIV. Earlier this year Dale began taking PrEP, a step that both he and Brian felt was not only important for their future, but also for a future for Denver in which there are no new cases of HIV or AIDS. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to Provide Free HIV Testing for World AIDS Day

In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) will provide free and confidential HIV testing at select health centers in Denver and Colorado Springs. PPRM is also doubling down on its vision of an AIDS-free generation by working in partnership with young people, communities of color, and people living with HIV to create the healthiest generation ever.  
                                                            
Since 2010, PPRM has offered free HIV testing on World Aids Day. Over the last year, PPRM health centers in Colorado provided 17689 rapid HIV tests as well as education and information to their patients.  They’ve also helped those patients who needed additional care, connected them with trusted, quality resources, and followed up with them to make sure they were cared for with the attention they needed.
“World Aids Day offers an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV as we support PPRM’s mission to provide quality and affordable health care to all people, regardless of their economic or insured status”, said Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director at PPRM.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV – and nearly one in six of those are not aware that they are infected.

“The only way to know for sure if a person has HIV is to get tested. Testing is relatively simple and will help prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS,” said C. Owen, Colorado’s Regional Director at PPRM.

“PPRM is committed to fighting for the world we want: a world with zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination,” said Amy Dickson, Vice President of Clinical Operations at PPRM.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Only a Few VIP Tables Left for the 6th Annual Red Ball

Featuring 17 high-end fashion designers, top-notch hair and makeup artists from 15 local salons, and 102 gorgeous models from throughout Colorado, Red Ball is the "it" fashion event in Denver and raises awareness for World AIDS Day. There are only a few VIP tables left so if you want one, act fast!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fact Sheet: Shared Responsibility to Strengthen Results for an AIDS-Free Generation

This World AIDS Day, we remember those lost to this epidemic, and reflect on the progress of the past year to prevent HIV infections, improve the health of people living with HIV worldwide, and address HIV stigma and discrimination. Earlier this year, PEPFAR celebrated its tenth anniversary. Domestically, they are refocusing their efforts to lower new HIV infections, improve health outcomes, and reduce disparities. In July, President Obama signed an Executive Order to launch the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, the next step in implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

NIH announces plan to increase funding toward a cure for HIV/AIDS

At a White House event yesterday to mark the 25th annual World AIDS Day, President Obama announced that the National Institutes of Health plans to redirect AIDS research funds to expand support for research directed toward a cure for HIV. NIH plans to invest an additional $100 million over the next three fiscal years on this increasingly promising area of HIV/AIDS research.

In the three decades since AIDS was first reported, the NIH has been the global leader in research to understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV infection and its many associated conditions. NIH-funded researchers — in partnership with academia and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries — have helped develop more than 30 life-saving antiretroviral drugs and drug combinations for treating HIV infection. These antiretroviral drugs have transformed life with HIV infection for those who have access to and can tolerate the therapies. However, treatment requires lifelong access and adherence to these medications and management of treatment-related toxicities and clinical complications.

Important recent advances in basic and therapeutics research aimed at eliminating viral reservoirs in the body are spurring scientists to design and conduct research aimed at a cure or lifelong remission of HIV infection. Key stakeholders from academia, government, foundations, advocacy groups and industry have concluded that developing a cure for HIV is one of the most important biomedical challenges of the 21st century. This will require an extraordinary, collaborative global effort, including public-private partnerships and innovative alliances to share scientific expertise and accelerate the search for a cure.

In a presentation at the White House event today, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the component of NIH with the largest investment in HIV/AIDS research, discussed the public health and scientific rationale for expanded research in this area.

“Although the HIV/AIDS pandemic can theoretically be ended with a concerted and sustained scale-up of implementation of existing tools for HIV prevention and treatment, the development of a cure is critically important, as it may not be feasible for tens of millions of people living with HIV infection to access and adhere to a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy,” Dr. Fauci noted. “Our growing understanding of the cellular hiding places or ‘reservoirs’ of HIV, the development of new strategies to minimize or deplete these reservoirs, and encouraging reports of a small number of patients who have little or no evidence of virus despite having halted antiretroviral therapy, all suggest that the time is ripe to pursue HIV cure research with vigor.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

PPRM Offering Free HIV Testing Today!

Don't forget! In recognition of World AIDS Day, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, will be offering the public free HIV testing at select health centers today.

Reflections on World AIDS Day

By Londell Jackson

Yesterday was World AIDS Day 2013. Yesterday was also the first day of Advent.  As such, I sit and reflect upon what that means for me.  When I think about World AIDS day, I stop to reflect upon HIV and AIDS and how this virus has affected my life.  While note a regularly practicing Catholic -- I don’t go to church often -- Advent is one of the many celebrations of the Church I bring into our home.  Advent is a season of preparation, specifically for the birth of Jesus.  Moreover, Advent is a season of reconciliation, forgiveness, and self-renewal; very similar to the Lenten season.

I have lived with HIV for just over 13 years.  I am among those fortunate enough to state my seroconversion has not affected my life in any large scale. For the majority of my infection I did take any sorts of meds simply because my body was keeping the virus in check.  That was until 2006 when I was diagnosed with Poly Arteritis Nodosa (PAN), an autoimmune disease of the vascular system.  It seemed that while my immune system was dealing with the HIV, it got a little overzealous and decided to attack the blood vessels in my legs, ankles, and feet.  While my T-Cell and viral load counts were normal, the only treatment to bring this affliction into remission was to start an antiretroviral.  I won’t share with you any stories of dealing with multi-pill dosages, or horrific side effects, simply because I had neither.  By the time I started treatment, it consisted of one pill, once per day.  Besides waking up groggy and some bizarre dreams at times, my life continued uninterrupted and the PAN went into remission.  Over the years, I have developed resistance to two drugs, and am now on my third.  Still no side effects (knock on wood).

My HIV does not dictate my life as it has millions of others.  Much of that is due to my middle class standing.  Nope, I’m not wealthy by any means, but I have always had health insurance, specifically prescription coverage.  If it wasn’t for insurance, I would have been dead a long time ago (well, that is a hyperbolic assumption) simply because I could have never afforded the medication, which costs $2,300 per month.  That’s $23,600 per year for those who would like to know.  Now I understand HIV infections are on the rise for several populations in our country.  I have assumptions as to the reasons for this, but regardless of what they might be, look at the basic economic reason to take precautions around potential infection.  Enough said about that.


As a believer in Christ, and as a follower of his teachings and wishes, I honor the season of Advent in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, the Christ child.  What does this mean in layperson’s terms: I am cleaning up the house before the guest arrives.  I’m looking back at the commitments I’ve made to myself over the years, commitments I’ve made privately between myself and my god about how I can be a better community member, a better spouse, and a better individual for myself.  


What does better mean, well, that’s a book for another day, but in this particular case, living a healthier life, a life that will make my remaining years enjoyable, and how can I encourage others to do similarly.

I acknowledge I have slacked in the areas of self care and preservation as of late.  I’ve packed on all the weight I had lost, I’m not taking artist’s dates as needed and promised, and I am not tending to my spiritual needs.  These things have once been very important to me and in my life, but lately they have seemed to wane as I slowly turn into a couch meatloaf.  So, it is time again to commit myself to becoming a healthier me.  While science has developed medicines to help sustain my life, and while my choices with and without spiritual direction have led me to where I am today, I can do better.  I can do better not just for me, but for my family as well.  I can also look to identify additional ways I can encourage others in my communities to make similar commitments for themselves, however possible.


This Advent, this World AIDS Day, I recommit myself to good health and to positive stewardship.  I honor the blessings in my life, and in doing so I commit to give my family a healthier me, and I live my life as a small example for others.  It’s the least I can do to say thank you and honor all those who have gone before me, and to ensure their lives were not taken in vain.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Planned Parenthood to offer Free HIV Testing at Select Health Centers in Honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 2

In recognition of World AIDS Day, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, will be offering the public free HIV testing at select health centers on Monday, Dec. 2.

Over 30 years ago the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in the Unites States. Today more than 1.1 million Americans live with HIV. Every 9.5 minutes someone in the United States is infected. In Colorado, there are 11,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS. This number does not reflect the fact that 1 in 5 people living with HIV are not aware that they have HIV.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing as well as remember the lives that have been lost and to support those who are living with HIV/AIDS.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

World AIDS Day: Jo Ann Santangelo's Portraits of People Living with HIV and AIDS

Austin Faces AIDS: Portraits of People Living with HIV and AIDS is an intimate multimedia project by Jo Ann Santangelo helping to increase HIV and AIDS awareness and reduce stigma by putting a face to the statistics and the disease. There are an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. 490,696 people are living with the disease in America.

Guy (above) tested positive for HIV in 1986 while living here in Denver.

 - via Buzzfeed

Denver Speaks Out on World AIDS Day: Bryan McKay, Volunteer Extraordinaire

Bryan McKay, Volunteer, Element, Embrace, Colorado AIDS Project, and The Center - "I personally feel that knowing is power. Not only for me, but for the person I am with. Knowing your status and talking about it,  being neg or poz, can and will help build a stronger communication bond for a possible relationship."

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

The Gay Community Speaks Out on World AIDS Day: Team Friendly Colorado

Team Friendly Colorado - "HIV and AIDS has been a part of gay culture and American life for over 30 years. In that time we have fought to protect ourselves, to educate our community and to save our lives. We won the war to save our lives. We stopped the death. But we forgot to fight for the living. The stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS prevents people from disclosing their status, from discussing their status and, in some cases, from knowing their status. Mr Friendly's mission is a world free of HIV stigma. His unique +/- sign design is intended to inspire conversations, to get people talking about HIV/AIDS. If you talk about your status and know your risks, you can have all the “Dirty” fun you want and still prevent transmission.

As Team Friendly Colorado, we hope to help spread this message to the entire state of Colorado, and not just to it's LGBT community. This tiny button, that translates in any language but has no words, delivers a simple message. “I am free of HIV Stigma” And it's our goal to get that message to every Coloradan we can, one conversation at a time.

Mr Friendly's message is sex-positive. We don't judge who you have sex with, how you do it, or what you are on while you are doing it. Educate yourself so you can make the right choices for you and your partner. Our message is not about safe sex, but smart sex."

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Denver Speaks Out on World AIDS Day: Robert George, Denver Colorado AIDS Project

Robert George, Regional Director, Denver Colorado AIDS Project - “World AIDS Day is a special time of year when we can remember those we have lost and celebrate those who live. It is a time for us to talk about HIV with our partners, friends, and family so that we can fight the stigma of HIV and make our community aware of the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.”

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Denver Speaks Out on World AIDS Day: MaShawn Moore, Denver Colorado AIDS Project

MaShawn Moore, Prevention Coordinator, Denver Colorado AIDS Project - "It is World AIDS Day — a time to remember the wonderful people who have passed, show support for individuals who are living with the disease, and to join the fight against HIV. It’s time to bring light to a disease that affects us all. That simple acronym — HIV — carries so much weight with it. But why?

I am HIV negative. I don’t say that to be prideful or wear it as a badge of honor. I say it for two reasons. First, I am not ashamed or uncomfortable talking about HIV. Second, I know my status. In conversation, it seems HIV is talked about in code or even slang. Words like dirty, bug, infected, and biohazard are used to describe HIV-positive individuals — and the list goes on. What if someone used those words to describe you? They don’t sound that pleasant, do they? It is okay to say HIV, to talk about HIV, and to feel comfortable while doing so. Saying the word HIV doesn't make it contagious. I believe once we are comfortable talking about HIV — and not treating it like something to be ashamed of — we will be better equipped to reduce new infection rates.

Another way to reduce the number of individuals contracting HIV is to get tested. Know your status. Yes, it can be scary, but for me there isn't a better feeling than knowing what is going on with my health. Getting tested is just a regular part of my physical upkeep.

So as this World AIDS Day comes and goes, I truly hope people can learn to be comfortable with HIV. Acknowledge it, discuss it, and know your status."

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Friday, November 30, 2012

World AIDS Day: Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement highlighting the U.S. Department of Labor’s ongoing efforts in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.

“On World AIDS Day, we reflect on friends and family members we have lost since the emergence of this pandemic more than 30 years ago. And while an encouraging United Nations report reveals the positive impact of international prevention and treatment programs, more than 1.7 million people died of AIDS-related illness last year.

“From our shared grief emerges new hope in the promise of an AIDS-free generation.

“On World AIDS Day – and every day – the Department of Labor is proud to be among the six lead federal agencies responsible for implementing President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States –the nation’s first comprehensive plan for responding to HIV/AIDS.

“Thanks to President Obama concluding a successful bipartisan effort to end the travel entry ban on people living with HIV, the International AIDS Conference at last returned to the United States for the first time in 22 years. Along with the National Working Positive Coalition, the Department of Labor hosted an Institute on HIV/AIDS and Employment during the conference.

“From the institute emerged a common theme: Work is a fundamental part of life. A good job is much more than a paycheck; it offers purpose and the opportunity to lead an independent, self-directed life for all people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

“Ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act means that tens of thousands of individuals living with HIV will gain health coverage and access to life-extending treatment. Starting in 2014, it will be unlawful to deny people insurance for pre-existing conditions, including HIV.

“My department’s Wage and Hour Division is vigorously enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act so that workers with HIV/AIDS have the workplace flexibility and medical privacy guaranteed by law, while our Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces safety standards to prevent inadvertent HIV/AIDS transmission in the workplace.

“Through our department’s aggressive public education campaign, we inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under federal law – including that workers cannot be denied employment, harassed or otherwise discriminated against because of their HIV status. Our Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is prioritizing investigations of employment discrimination on this front.

“Our Office of Disability Employment Policy has developed a suite of specific resources and tools directed to employers, service providers and individuals with HIV/AIDS who are looking to enter or re-enter the workplace, while promoting the availability of reasonable accommodations for workers living with HIV/AIDS.

“Internationally, my department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs continues to promote global awareness of compassionate approaches to HIV/AIDS by helping other countries develop policies and programs to combat job discrimination.

“We have come so far to save and improve countless lives over the course of this crisis. On this World AIDS Day, as we carry with us the memory of those who have lost their own battle, we move one step closer to a world free of AIDS.”

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

The Gay Community Speaks Out on World AIDS Day: Pandora Boxx

Pandora Boxx, superstar, "I think my message, especially to the younger gays out there, is that HIV/AIDS is still a big problem. I know there has been an upsurge in unprotected sex – barebacking, if you will – and people really need to know that even though there are wonderful medicines out there and people are living a lot longer, it’s still a deadly disease so put a fucking condom on!"

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Community Leaders Speak Out On World AIDS Day: James Marsden, Matthew Shepard Foundation

James Marsden
Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, "World AIDS Day 2012 would also have been Matthew Shepard's 36th birthday, had we not lost him to one of America's most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998.

So much has changed both for the LGBT and Allied community, and in the fight against HIV, in these last 14 years. But the awareness and re-dedication of purpose that World AIDS Day brings about each year remains as important as it was back then.

Prevention, including regular testing and safer sex, continues to be the cornerstone of the progress that's been made. Broader social and political attention to Americans' health-care needs will also surely improve overall community health. But like most things, it will take focused, long-term public attention from millions of us as individuals to put the HIV epidemic and its tragic consequences fully in the rear-view mirror." 

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

World AIDS Day: HIV Is My Undetectable Bitch


By Philip Doyle

I hope to live a long, loving, and healthy life.  Not just for me, but for my brothers and sisters who were robbed of life’s opportunities.  

I found out that I was HIV+ in 2008 when I was diagnosed with AIDS.  Physically I was a wreck.  I compare it to one of those characters at the end of an Indiana Jones movie.  You know the bad guy who takes a risk, then gets a shocked look on their face before rapidly aging and turning to dust in seconds?  That’s how I felt.  It took a long time to recover, to get on the right meds, and restore my immune system.  Science has taken phenomenal leaps, and I live my life as a tribute to those who didn’t have the chance at life that I did.  I am left standing because an army of people has gone before me.

In some ways the physical recovery was the easy part.  Learning how to overcome stigma and morality judgments can be a challenge.  “Are you clean?” is a question that kind of bugs me.  Heck yes, I’m clean!  Sure, sometimes my car is a mess, but I take showers, wash my clothes, and my leather boots are kept immaculate.

Here’s another question, “How did you become HIV+?” I contracted the virus because it has existed for years and years.  It has lived in the bodies of remarkable men, women, and children.  It has prospered in prostitutes, and drug addicts.  It’s the same virus that has survived inside talented artists, brilliant gay men, and dedicated lovers, who have long since passed.  HIV has snuffed out dear friends and unseen strangers, and now continues to live on, inside me.  That is how I got it.

I am learning not to be shy about disclosing my status.  I own it.  With the help of friends, family, and modern medicine, I have repressed the virus, and made it my undetectable bitch.  My goal is to hold it down and take responsibility for my health, and for the lives of others.  And that pesky virus that has been bouncing from person to person, living for decades, will finally die with me.

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On World Aids Day, Planned Parenthood Health Centers Is Poised to Play Key Role in Delivering New HIV Coverage to Americans

Dec. 1 is World Aids Day. There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and every 10 minutes someone is diagnosed with HIV.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions more people will be eligible for health insurance and HIV care. Currently, insurers will be required to fully cover annual counseling and screening for HIV infection for all sexually active women, as well as HIV screening for adolescents and adults age 13-64 who are at higher risk for contracting HIV. In November, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all Americans ages 15-65 receive routine HIV testing, not just those most at risk. If finalized, this would mean insurers would have to cover HIV screening without a co-pay.

“The Affordable Care Act provides unprecedented opportunities for Americans to work together in changing the course of this epidemic,” said Amy Dickson, vice president of clinical operations for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “With new investments in sex education and the evolution of health technology as a means to educate and communicate with more people than ever before, we have new tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood health centers will play a large role in translating these new requirements into expanded access to health care for people across the country. Planned Parenthood is among the nation’s leading providers of HIV screening in the U.S. In fact, one in three women who receive an HIV test is tested at a women’s health center like Planned Parenthood. In 2011, Planned Parenthood affiliates conducted 680,000 HIV tests, a 16 percent increase from 2010.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is working to reduce the high rates of sexually transmitted infections through education and screenings, in an effort to create the healthiest generation ever. PPRM health centers provide quality, nonjudgmental care to women, men, and young people, regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, we saw 121,400 patients and provided 15,000 HIV screenings.

On World AIDS Day and every day, there is much to be done. Talk to your friends and family about this global problem, ensure your loved ones get the information and care they need and deserve, and let your legislators know that you support investments in family planning. To make an appointment for HIV testing, visit www.pprm.org.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011: Statement by Secretary Hillary Clinton

In honor of today being World AIDS Day 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released the following statement:

Today we pay tribute to the millions of lives lost and families affected by HIV/AIDS.  We also recognize the brave individuals living with HIV who carry the burden of this disease every day.  It is in their honor that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of an AIDS-free generation. 

President Obama’s announcement today of the goal to provide lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to 6 million people living with HIV worldwide represents a critical step towards this goal.  Since AIDS was identified 30 years ago, we have made significant progress, saving and improving the lives of millions of people around the world.  Remarkable scientific breakthroughs in preventing and managing this disease have given us the tools for even greater action.  Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative, we are working to translate these advances into lifesaving programs.  

This vision of an AIDS-free generation can only be realized by working together.  Partner governments, civil society, the private sector and multilateral organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria must collaborate and share best practices. We must engage the world’s brightest scientists, advocates, and public health experts to find more effective ways to fight HIV.  High-impact interventions like antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and voluntary medical male circumcision have the potential to move us toward the end of this epidemic. 

We have come a long way in the fight against AIDS, but there is still a long road ahead to realize our ambitious goals.  If we continue to work together and coordinate a global effort guided by science, we may one day live in a AIDS-free generation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

World AIDS Day tomorrow - Candlelight Vigil and free HIV Tests in Denver

In recognition of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is partnering with ONE Colorado, the Denver STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS (CORA), and The GLBT Community Center of Colorado to offer free HIV testing locations throughout the Denver Metro Area and Colorado Springs.

A candlelight vigil, open to the public, will also be held on the west steps of the State Capitol beginning at 5:30 p.m. to remember those who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. The vigil will feature guest speakers Dr. Mark Thrun, director of HIV Prevention and STD Control for Denver Public Health and with the Denver STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, and Dr. Benjamin Young, executive medical director for Rocky Mountain Cares. Rocky Mountain Cares provides high quality centralized medical care and supportive services to a diverse and inclusive Colorado HIV/AIDS community.

World AIDS Day first originated in 1988. This year’s campaign focuses on Getting to Zero—from zero new HIV infections to zero discrimination to zero AIDS related deaths.

“It’s exciting to see Colorado’s nonprofit community come together for this year’s campaign, said Amy Dickson, PPRM vice president of clinical services. Getting to zero stands for a push towards greater access to treatment for all and a call for governments to act now—all the organizations involved in this year’s event touch on some aspect of this overarching theme. Planned Parenthood is so proud to offer the community free HIV testing on Dec. 1. Testing is the first step to prevention.”

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their recommendation for HIV testing to begin at age 16 for some teens, stigma, fear, judgment and other barriers continue to get in the way of routine testing. Every 9.5 minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV and 1 in 5 individuals don’t know that they are HIV positive.

“Thirty years ago the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in the Unites States. While we have made huge advancements in treatment we still have a large distance to travel. We estimate that there are about 11,000 people in Colorado who are known to be living with HIV. And 2000-3000 are living with HIV, but are not yet diagnosed. Approximately 430 people are diagnosed with HIV in Colorado each year. The Obama administration has developed a national strategy which is to serve as a concise plan for moving the country forward, but knowing your status is still the most important step an individual can take to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Mark Thrun, medical director, HIV prevention/Denver Public Health.

Testing is simple; PPRM’s HIV test is a finger prick and results are available within 12 minutes or less. On Dec. 1, clients are encouraged to make an appointment or walk in to any of the testing locations.

The free testing sites and vigil are just a few of the many events in honor of World AIDS Day. St Paul United Methodist & Inter-Spiritual Community will be hosting a Service of Remembrance & Celebration at The GLBT Community Center of Colorado on Dec. 1 from 4-5 p.m. In addition, CORA is participating in an educational and visibility campaign called Get Your Cake On. Through this effort, bakeries across Colorado are spreading the word through red ribbon cupcakes. During the week of Nov. 28, stop by a participating bakery to get your cake on. Local bakeries participating in this campaign can be found on Facebook.