Commemorating World AIDS Day in Spokane

Nov 30, 2017

Local event to raise awareness for prevention and treatment, fight prejudice

For Immediate Release
Nov 30, 2017

Contact: Kim Papich, Public Information Officer
kpapich@srhd.org  |  (509) 324-1539  |  cell (509) 994-8968

SPOKANE, Wash. – Dec. 1 will once again mark the arrival of World AIDS Day, a global event held each year that unites people globally in the fight against HIV. Spokane Regional Health District and several of its partners invite the community to join them in commemorating World AIDS Day.  

A free community event will be held on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. The evening offers a chance to show support for people living with HIV and culminates in a silent vigil by candlelight to pay homage to those who have passed away. Complimentary refreshments will be served.  

According to Washington State Department of Health’s HIV Surveillance Semiannual Report 2016 Edition, more than 800 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Spokane County since Washington state’s first case of AIDS was diagnosed in 1981—over 20,000 people in Washington state have been diagnosed with HIV during the same period. Statewide, nearly 8,000 people have died.  

Approximately 600 people in Spokane County are living with HIV disease. With advances in medications, affected people are living longer and healthier lives. HIV medications, taken daily as prescribed, also decrease the chances a person will transmit the virus to others.    

Thirty-six years after the beginning of the epidemic, the nation is looking toward an achievable prospect of an AIDS-free generation. Early detection through testing, as well as access to health care and medications, are pivotal in this goal, and are central to World AIDS Day messaging.  

Along with honoring friends and loved ones who have died, organizers hope Spokane’s World AIDS Day event will also help to fight stigma and lend visibility to treatment and prevention efforts in the community.

Testing is always available through Spokane Regional Health District’s HIV/STD Services program, (509) 324-1542. The only way a person can know for sure whether they have HIV is to get tested. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. About one in seven people in the United States who have HIV don’t know they have it.  

More information can be found at www.srhd.org. Spokane Regional Health District’s web site also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.