World AIDS Day 2013


Every year on December 1, people around the world recognize World AIDS Day. This annual event is an opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, celebrate victories in increased access to treatment and prevention services, and stamp out the negative stigma associated with HIV.

This year, World AIDS Day is being celebrated with events throughout Montana, the nation and the world. This year’s theme is “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.”

While the World AIDS Day theme is global in nature, it must also be addressed at the local level. Leadership in the fight against AIDS starts with families, schools, the workplace, places of worship, health care settings and elective offices. Together, our collective voices can help.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. In Montana, over 400 people are living with HIV or AIDS and 16-31 new cases are diagnosed each year. HIV may not grab the headlines like it did at the height of the epidemic in the 1980s, but it does threaten lives and loved ones right here in Montana.

What steps can you take? First, learn your HIV status. An estimated 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 doesn’t know it. A new website,, lists testing locations around the state so it is easy to find the nearest place to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The CDC now recommends HIV testing as part of routine medical examinations for anyone 13 – 64 years of age.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of contracting HIV. Get educated on how the disease is transmitted and how it can be prevented. Finally, join the global fight to stop AIDS. Visit Global AIDS Alliance at to learn how you can get involved in efforts to prevent the spread of HIV.

Know your status. Get tested. Contact Richland County Family Planning at the Richland County Health Department at 433-2207. Together we can get to ZERO.


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