FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 17, 2010
World AIDS Day events planned
COLUMBIA, S.C. – World AIDS Day events will be observed throughout South Carolina on Dec. 1, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.
"Free or low-cost rapid tests for HIV will be offered in many of DHEC's county public health departments and community-based agencies to mark World AIDS Day," said Janet Tapp, division director of DHEC's STD/HIV Division. "Community-based groups will offer events and candlelight vigils to raise awareness of HIV issues and remember those who have died from AIDS."
Tapp said the World AIDS Day theme for 2010, "Act aware: Stop AIDS – keep the promise," stresses the importance of learning the facts about HIV and taking personal actions to help prevent it and the stigma that comes from misinformation.
"In South Carolina, more than 14,000 people are known to be living with HIV/AIDS and we estimate that one new HIV infection occurs in the state every nine hours," Tapp said. "Every county in the state has residents living with HIV, but many South Carolinians remain unaware of their HIV status because they have not received an HIV test."
According to Tapp, DHEC encourages public health and private partnerships throughout South Carolina to end the stigma of HIV and promote community support for HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment.
"We continue to partner closely with community-based organizations to deliver testing, prevention and care services to those most in need," Tapp said. "We are also working with hospital emergency departments to promote routine HIV testing for early diagnosis.
"Most people in the early stages of HIV infection have no symptoms," she said. "Early diagnosis can link people to services that will help them stay healthy longer, benefit most from treatment, reduce costly hospital visits, and help prevent transmission to others."
For more information about World AIDS Day events, including local HIV testing sites, call DHEC's S.C. AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC's website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.
For more information:
Tony Price – (803) 898-0338
E-mail – email@example.com