While the HIV epidemic may seem like something that happens in other places, and only gets attention in the U.S. when a famous actor is diagnosed (like Charlie Sheen this week), the numbers show HIV is an epidemic hitting the Lowcountry. On World AIDS Day, the Charleston community can come together to recognize what is happening locally and join forces to support HIV education and prevention here and around the state.
On Monday, December 1st, the Charleston Area World AIDS Day Committee will once again hold a commemorative candlelight vigil at the Unitarian Church, 4 Archdale Street in downtown Charleston. The evening's program, which starts at 6:30 pm, will include speakers and performances – all with the hope of sparking a dialogue about rising HIV rates facing Charleston.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Charleston/North Charleston metropolitan area ranks 31st among all U.S. metropolitan areas for the highest rate of new HIV infections in 2013. This year, Lowcountry AIDS Services is reporting a higher number of those testing positive for HIV.
Lowcountry AIDS Services will partner with Walgreens to provide free HIV testing on World AIDS Day. Testing will be done from 10 am to 2 pm on December 1st at the Walgreens on 1861 Remount Road in North Charleston.
Lowcountry AIDS Services is also encouraging the community to “see red” on World AIDS Day. They ask that you post a photo/selfie wearing red (clothing, red ribbon, etc.) and use hashtags: #red4LAS, #SeeingRED, #KnowNowKnowHow, #WorldAIDSDay, #LowcountryAIDS; and tag Lowcountry AIDS Services on Facebook or on Twitter/Instagram @LowcountryAIDS. For more details on the #SeeingRED social media campaign, visit http://bit.ly/1HYPUmX.
For more information all of the programs, visit the Charleston Area World AIDS Day Facebook page.