News Release Nov 28, 2011
Media Contact: Kim Papich
(509) 324-1539, c (509) 994-8968
Commemorating World AIDS Day in Spokane
Local event to raise awareness for prevention and treatment, fight prejudice
SPOKANE, Wash. – Dec. 1, 2011 once again marks the arrival of World AIDS Day, an annual event to raise awareness about the global epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Spokane Regional Health District staff encourage the community to join them in commemorating the day by attending Spokane’s annual recognition event on Dec. 1 at Unitarian Universalist Church, near Spokane Falls Community College, from 6 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
The program will lend visibility to prevention and treatment progress and help fight prejudice. It includes a candlelight vigil to pay homage to those who have passed away. The key takeaway from the event is that HIV testing and associated care can save lives and local agencies like Spokane Regional Health District are working to build on those successes to allow more people to live longer and healthier lives.
During 2010, there were 30 newly-diagnosed HIV infections in Spokane County. It is estimated that Spokane County has 450 people living with the HIV virus. Both Spokane and Washington state continue to see the total number of people living with HIV disease increase. Worldwide, over 7,000 people contract HIV each day. In 2008, over 2 million people died from AIDS.
Spokane Regional Health District’s HIV/AIDS program works to stop the spread of HIV and to provide education and support to those who are HIV positive and those living with AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV testing as a routine part of health care. Testing can be done through most health care provider offices and clinics. Testing is also available at the Spokane Regional Health District by appointment at (509) 324-1600. SRHD supports CDC recommendations that:
- Everyone ages 13-64 get tested at least once.
- People at high risk for HIV get tested more often. Those at the highest risk (including injection-drug users and their sex partners, persons who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of HIV-infected persons and men who have sex with men) get tested at least annually.
- Women get tested during each pregnancy.
The health district joins several agencies in supporting the Dec. 1 program including the Spokane AIDS Network, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, Brighton Court, and Spokane’s HIV/AIDS Speakers’ Bureau. For more information about the event contact Ann Bruce, World AIDS Day event co-chairperson, (509) 324-3606. For more information about World AIDS Day visit worldaidsday.org.
More information can also be found at www.srhd.org. The site offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community.