Wichita groups to observe World AIDS Day

11/25/2013 12:17 PM

11/25/2013 12:18 PM

Free testing and other events will mark World AIDS Day in Wichita.

This year’s theme of the annual day, set for Sunday, is Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation, a news release from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said.

More than 1 million people in the United States are HIV-positive, and one in five of those people are unaware of their status, the news release said.

“The first step in preventing HIV from becoming AIDS is to be tested and be tested early,” Brenda Walker, director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention for KDHE, said in the release. “Too many of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Kansas were also AIDS diagnoses. Those who first learn of their HIV status when they already have AIDS have less likelihood of keeping their immune systems healthy long term.”

The Sedgwick County Health Department will offer free HIV testing on Dec. 2. Testing is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2716 W. Central in Wichita. Appointments are not required but preferred and can be made by calling 316-660-7300.

The University of Kansas School of Medicine/KU Midtown, along with several other organizations, will sponsor a commemorative walk, memorial program and chili cookoff at 2 p.m. Sunday at First Metropolitan Community Church, 156 S. Kansas. The program will include music, speakers and the reading of names of people who have lost their lives to AIDS.

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