World AIDS Day events planned in region

Tuesday is World AIDS Day, the day when governments, AIDS programs, faith organizations and others try to focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

In the Wichita area, the day will be marked with a candlelight vigil and program to remember those who have died of AIDS and those still living with HIV and AIDS, free HIV testing at several locations, and a dessert bar and free showing of the movie "Cover."

About 2,600 Kansans are estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS as of the end of 2008, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

It's estimated that half to three-fourths of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who don't know they are infected. Early testing and diagnosis can reduce the spread.

These are among area activities planned for World AIDS Day. All are Tuesday and are free except where noted.

* The University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita and Hunter Health Clinic will have a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. beginning at the Mid-America All-Indian Center, 650 N. Seneca, with a walk to the Keeper of the Plains. Programs remembering those lost to AIDS and those still living with HIV/AIDS will follow at 7:15 p.m. In case of inclement weather, activities will be inside.

* E.C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic will show the movie "Cover" at the St. Mark United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 1525 N. Lorraine, lower level. Women are asked to wear their fanciest red dress. A dessert bar will be available for $5. Free HIV testing will begin at 5 p.m. with the movie starting at 6:15.

* The Sedgwick County Health Department and Wichita State University will offer HIV testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rhatigan Student Center on the WSU campus.

* Hunter Health Clinic will offer testing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 2318 E. Central.

* Positive Directions will offer testing from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 414 S. Commerce.

* The Health Department will offer testing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2716 W. Central.

* KU Medical School will offer testing from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at its Midtown location, 1125 N. Topeka.

* The Walnut Valley AIDS Coalition, Butler Community College and Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital are having a program called "Methamphetamines and HIV: A Deadly Duo" from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Kansas Room of the 1500 Building on the Butler Community College campus in El Dorado. Three nursing continuing education units will be available at no cost.

* The Reno County Health Department at 209 W. Second in Hutchinson will have HIV testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It also will host a poetry slam from 7 to 10 p.m. at Metropolitan Coffee, 1329 E. 17th St., with people invited to write, read and perform about their thoughts and remembering those they've lost to HIV/AIDS.

The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988. It is Dec. 1.