World AIDS Day – Getting to Zero

Each year on December 1st, World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days.

This year’s World AIDS Day theme is Getting to Zero – Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.

World AIDS Day gives people the opportunity to commemorate the accomplishments and achievements that have been reached so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It also is a reminder of the work that remains to be done.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as of 2009 the number of people living with HIV reached 33.3 million globally.

Maine is not immune to the epidemic. According to the Maine CDC, as the end of 2010, there were 1,563 people living with diagnosed HIV in Maine, with 59 cases diagnosed in 2010 alone.

Want to know what’s happening in your part of Maine to commemorate World AIDS Day? Check out the following:

In western Maine, WMCA Health Services is hosting a Free HIV testing event at their family planning health centers.  This event includes free HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing, as well as incentives of gift cards and delicious snacks for all participants.

If you’re in the Augusta area you can join the Horizon Program World AIDS Day event to celebrate and remember those who have passed on and people who continue to live with HIV/AIDS.

DownEast AIDS Network in Ellsworth is celebrating the whole month of December with a series of events. Read about it at, DEAN AIDS Awareness Month.

In Aroostook County, ACAP Health Services is offering no-cost HIV testing at both their Houlton and Presque Isle health centers.

In Brunswick, All About Prevention is hosting an event at the Curtis Memorial Library to remember those who have died of AIDS and support those living with HIV.  The event will include music and food and fellowship.

Frannie Peabody Center in Portland is hosting an event at Victoria Mansion. John-Manual Andriote, author of the award-winning book Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America.

This may not be a complete list and I apologize in advance for any community events I have missed.  If you know of an event that’s not listed here, please post a comment and share it with our readers.

~ Nancy

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