World AIDS Day 2016

People around the world are remembering the tens of millions affected by AIDS or HIV with a full day of events including several here in Austin.

It's been 31 years since AIDS first appeared and since then nearly 30 million people have died from AIDS related illnesses.

Statistics show that worldwide, 34 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS. In the Austin area, some 5,000 people are living with HIV according to AIDS Services of Austin. 

For the past 29 years, AIDS Services of Austin has been responding to the evolving epidemic in Central Texas. It now serves some 7,000 people in our community helping them with counseling, education, housing and medical expenses.

The non profit says in Texas a lot of the cases are considered late diagnosis. That means that by the time people are diagnosed with HIV within six months to a year they're diagnosed with AIDS.

That's why the organization says it works so hard to educate the public as well as conducts free HIV testing with results in 60 seconds. Those who are diagnosed are educated on what their lives will be like living with HIV.

There will be free AIDS testing all day. Remember you can remain anonymous. 

At 1 p.m. a commemorative tree will be decorated with personalized handmade ornaments from patients and loved ones.

At 2 p.m. there will be a balloon release to raise awareness and fight stigma about HIV/AIDS.

The World AIDS Day Service of Remembrance and Hope is at 7 p.m. The interfaith service will be at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection to remember those who've died from HIV/AIDS, those who are living with the disease and those who've been affected by it.

For a list of events and locations head here.


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