In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas’ Infectious Disease (ID) Team will host a series of outreach events at local colleges and businesses on Friday, Dec. 1 to raise awareness about HIV treatment, testing, and prevention.
At each location, the ID Team representatives will provide educational materials including information on PrEP, HIV testing and treatment, and Hepatitis C testing and treatment. Oraquick home HIV tests and accompanying information will also be available on-site for interested community members.
“It was important for us to organize these outreach events to promote HIV testing and prevention as well as to work towards ending HIV-related stigma,” said Logan Rink, CHC/SEK STI/HIV Care Coordinator.
About 13% of people living with HIV in the U.S. don’t know it, according to the CDC. Early HIV diagnosis is crucial, and the CDC recommends everyone aged 13-64 should be tested at least once as part of their routine healthcare. People at higher risk of acquiring (or exposure to) HIV should be tested at least annually, the CDC says.
“Initiating conversations around HIV testing, treatment, and prevention helps us educate our community and increase awareness,” said Rink.
ID Team representatives will host tables at the following locations:
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Student Union
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Pittsburg State University, Overman Student Center
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at TOAST, 401 N Broadway St, Suite D, Pittsburg
8 p.m. – 10 p.m. at TJ Leland’s, 108 W 6th S, Pittsburg
World AIDS Day was created in 1988 to help raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to honor those who are affected by the epidemic. This year’s theme is “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit.” According to UNAIDS, in 2022 39 million people globally were living with HIV.
“My hope is that through these outreach events, we spread awareness to our communities about our Infectious Disease program and the services we offer,” Rink said. “These are not simply limited to HIV Care—one of our main goals is to help empower individuals to take control of their sexual health and, most importantly, their overall wellbeing.”