JONESBORO — In recognition of Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day, the Clayton County Health District will host an event themed “Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice” from 10-11:30 am on Dec. 1.

The event will be live steamed on Facebook, www.facebook.com/cchdpreventhiv, and participants will be able to comment and ask questions during the event. As such, it offers individuals, public health professionals, and community-based organizations the opportunity to increase HIV awareness in the community, combat stigma and discrimination, ensure that everyone knows the importance of Preventing, Testing, and Treating HIV.

Although it has been 40 years since HIV was first recognized by CDC scientists, many people remain uninformed about HIV, how it is transmitted and, most importantly, their own HIV status. Clayton County Health District continues to address these challenges by offering numerous avenues to educate the public and support those living with HIV.

“We recognize that HIV testing and linkage to care can save lives and are working to ensure more people live longer and healthier lives. We want to let everyone who has been affected directly or indirectly by HIV to know that we support them and are united with them in our efforts to end the stigma and transmission of HIV,” Clayton health district officials said. “Much work still needs to be done but, today, new scientific knowledge combined with proven success in implementing prevention, care, and treatment interventions provides the opportunity to increase access and save many lives in Clayton County.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which this information is available. Of those people, about 13%, did not know they had HIV. In Clayton County, as of Dec. 31, 2019, there were 2,929 persons living with HIV and of those 140 were newly diagnosed with HIV. African Americans accounted for 82.6%, Hispanic/Latinos accounted for 6.4%, and Whites accounted for 4% of all new HIV diagnosis. Gay and bisexual men accounted for 72.5% of all new HIV diagnosis. People aged 20-29, accounted for nearly half of all new diagnosis.

To help more people know their HIV status, Clayton County Health District provides free HIV testing Monday through Friday at the Clayton County Health Department Annex (clinic) located 685 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, and on Mondays at Clayton State University, 5809 N. Lake Dr. Bldg. 1000, Morrow. No appointment is needed, and testing is offered 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. with results in one minute.

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