Department of Health to Recognize World AIDS Day Activities on Dec. 1

In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Immunization Division of the U.S.V.I. Department of Health (DOH) and the Frederiksted Health Center will be hosting events on Friday, Dec. 1. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

The day reminds the public and decision makers that there is still a vital need to support HIV programs, increase awareness, fight prejudice, stigma and discrimination, and improve education. Founded in 1988, it was the first ever global health day. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, approximately 643 people are living with HIV. Many have died from AIDS, which marks the final stage of living with HIV without effective treatment. The epidemic has had significant impact on the Caribbean region and globally. As of 2016, there were 310,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean and globally there are 36.7 million people. In 2016 alone, there were an estimated 18,000 new HIV infections in the Caribbean region and 1.8 million globally.

World AIDS Day Activities – Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

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St. Thomas from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — DOH HIV/AIDS Awareness Health Fair at The Old Municipal Hospital,

St. Croix from 5:30-6 p.m. — Memorial March and Vigil – (travels from Frederiksted Post Office to Fish Market)

St. Croix from 6-7 p.m. – a performance of “Life in the Time of HIV” (Dorsch Center/across from Turtles Deli); St. Croix from 7-7:30 p.m. – Networking and Refreshments

Today, huge scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV, and so much more is understood about the condition. In fact, living with HIV is now considered a chronic condition, like diabetes. Treatment can keep someone healthy and can effectively reduce the risk of transmission to zero. Despite this, each year many people are diagnosed with HIV, confirming that there is still much work to be done locally and globally as people still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV.

On this very important day, DOH and Frederiksted Health Care Inc. (FHC) join forces to encourage all Virgin Islanders to learn the facts about HIV/AIDS, know their HIV status by getting tested and get involved in raising awareness about HIV prevention within their community.

The DOH and FHC encourages the public to get tested and know your status.

Free Confidential HIV Testing Is Ongoing at These Locations:

St. Croix: U.S.V.I. Department of Health, Charles Harwood Complex; 718-1311, ext. 3680

St. Thomas: U.S.V.I. Department of Health, The Old Municipal Hospital; 774 -9000. ext. 4661

St. Croix: Frederiksted Health Care, 516 Strand Street, Frederiksted; 772-0260

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