World AIDS Day is observed each year on Dec. 1 and is an opportunity for South Floridians to join people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. The U.S. Government theme for this year’s observance is Leadership. Commitment. Impact.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an American has a 1 in 99 chance of being diagnosed with HIV at some point in his or her life. But that risk is greater for people living in the South than in other regions of the country. In 2014, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region ranked number one in the nation by the CDC for the rate of new HIV infections in areas with more than 1 million people. That year, Miami-Dade County had 1,324 new HIV cases, the CDC said, while Broward County had 836 cases. Statewide, in 2014, the Florida Department of Health said 110,000 people were diagnosed and living with HIV. People are still dying of the virus. In the United States, 6,955 people died from HIV and AIDS in 2013, according to the CDC.
Statewide, in 2014, the Florida Department of Health said 110,000 people were diagnosed and living with HIV. People are still dying of the virus. In the United States, 6,955 people died from HIV and AIDS in 2013, according to the CDC.
Miami-Dade and Broward were number 1 and 2 in the U.S. in new HIV infections in 2014 per 100,000 residents, according to state and federal data. Thousands of people do not receive treatment due to a lack of information about available resources or the stigma that remains. It takes advocates, social service agencies, medical providers, businesses and individuals to change this. Here are some local events that you may want to attend to show support for those with HIV/AIDS:
Wednesday, Nov. 30
The World AIDS Museum hosts a program from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Bobby R. Henry, Sr., publisher of the Westside Gazette will be honored during a program where young, local artists will perform. The event is free and open to the public. The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center is located at 1201 NE 26th St. #111, Wilton Manors, Florida.
Thursday, Dec. 1
Broward House is organizing a World AIDS Day Vigil and Remembrance Walk. It begins at Hagen Park at 6:30 p.m. and continues down Wilton Drive united in memory, healing, and love. The candlelit walk will culminate at The Pride Center for a few words of respectful remembrance, support, and continued vigilance.
Thursday, Dec. 1
Compass Community Center will be hosting their annual World AIDS Day event – A Night of Remembrance Reception. It is held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and features a live performance by Voices of Pride, The Gay Men’s Chorus of the Palm Beaches, Candlelight vigil and will call of the names to commemorate and honor those lost to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Thursday Dec. 8
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Reception Dinner
Tour of The Quilt & Program by Compass’ Health Services Staff. For the past ten years, the nonprofit Compass Community Center has displayed colorful panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a 54-ton, handmade tapestry that serves as a tribute to the more than 94,000 individuals who died from the disease — and to those who are prospering despite having it. Compass will showcase the largest segment of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display in the state of Florida.
Friday Dec. 9
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Movie Screening of “It’s Not Over”
This film offers a look at the HIV/AIDS epidemic by telling the stories of three millennials whose lives are impacted by HIV. The subjects hail from diverse backgrounds and different corners of the globe, from South Africa to India to the U.S. The screening will be followed by a youth peer led discussion about HIV/AIDS and its relevance in the world today.
Care Resource will be celebrating World AIDS Day with a day of testing, education, and events across Miami-Dade County. Care Resource is offering testing through mobile units at several community locations. HIV Mobile Testing will occur with Walgreens at Congresswoman Frederika Wilson’s office (161 NE 54th St., Miami, Florida 33137) and at Florida Memorial University from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and at Care Resource’s Midtown and Fort Lauderdale offices from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Care Resource will also be at the World AIDS Day Event at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus located at 3000 Northeast 151st St., Miami, Florida 33181. It will take place from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Wolfe University Center (WUC) Panther Square. A representative will be talking about PrEP - when taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by over 92 perceent. Latinos Salud is also taking part in HIV testing at FIU.
Friday Dec. 2
Latinos Salud is conducting outreach at Northeast High School during the day. That evening, it hosts its JUNTOS leadership group in its Wilton Manors location.
Latinos Salud provides free rapid HIV testing in its mobile unit at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The park is located at 1245 Michigan Ave, Miami Beach, Florida 33139.
You can learn more about HIV testing sites and other events planned for World AIDS Day by visiting www.AIDS.gov.