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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: November 29, 2016


DOVER (Nov. 29, 2016) - Dec. 1, 2016, marks the 29th anniversary of World AIDS Day. The theme this year is, "Leadership. Commitment. Impact." World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), to show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those lost to the disease.

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world's most significant public health challenges. In the United States, about 1.2 million people are currently infected with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed annually. Even though the annual number of new HIV diagnoses declined 19 percent over the last decade, more work needs to be done. More effective treatments also means there are more infected people who live longer, and therefore the challenge of preventing further spread of the disease is even greater.

Currently, there are 3,354 people living with HIV/AIDS in Delaware, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates another 350 may be infected but don't know it. Getting tested is easy, free and confidential. Visit www.hivtest.org to find a testing center near you. The HIV test is simple and you will receive your result within minutes.

"The fight against HIV/AIDS begins with individual testing," said Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "Roughly one-third of new infections result from those unaware they are HIV positive. Not only are they at high risk for unknowingly infecting others, but their own health is impacted as they may not receive treatment. The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. If you test positive, treatment is available. If you test negative, you can protect yourself from future infection."

The CDC recommends routine HIV testing (at least once) for all people ages 13 to 64. Those deemed at higher risk may be tested more frequently (at least once a year). Testing is also recommended for women considering pregnancy and during pregnancy. Treatment can prevent an HIV-positive mother from passing the disease to the unborn baby.

"World AIDS Day reminds us today and every day of the importance of knowing your HIV status," said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf. "I encourage Delawareans to take this time to learn more about preventing HIV/AIDS and how you can help or support those living with the disease."

If you have HIV, but are not receiving treatment because you have no insurance or for any other reason, call the Division of Public Health at 302-744-1050 for assistance.

The following events are being held to mark World AIDS Day 2016 in Delaware:

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services
World AIDS Day Event
Dec. 1, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, Parlor A,
Delaware State University
1200 N. DuPont Highway, Dover
Contact: Rebekah Nuttall, 302-504-5999, rnuttall@branywinecounseling.org
Anything But Clothes Fashion Show in recognition of World AIDS Day. Design an outfit made out of prevention messaging and risk-reduction materials such as condoms, dental dams, lube packets, female condoms, etc. Door and grand prizes of $300, $200, and $100. Free HIV testing and screenings via the COPE RV. Live DJ and free food.

Camp Rehoboth
Candlelight Walk
Dec. 1, 2016
6:15 p.m.
The Candlelight walk starts at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand in downtown Rehoboth. The Service is at All Saints Church in Rehoboth at 18 Olive Ave.
Contact: Salvatore Seeley, 302-227-5620, salvatoreseeley@aol.com
Candlelight vigil and walk. Reading of the names of those we have lost to AIDS followed by a community supper. Free HIV testing will be provided from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Camp Rehoboth Community Center. The Candlelight Walk kicks off at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand at 6:15 p.m. The Service of Remembrance begins at 7:00 p.m.

AIDS Delaware
World AIDS Day Summit
Dec. 3, 2016
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Delaware Technical Community College, 300 N. Orange St., Wilmington,
Contact: Frank Hawkins, 302-652-6776
Community event to raise awareness about HIV. Exhibitors and panel discussions with people living with HIV. Free testing available on-site.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.