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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky Public Health Observes World AIDS Day Dec. 1

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 26, 2008  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 or 4012  


Event Now in 20th Year Aims to “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 26, 2008) World AIDS Day will be commemorated around the globe on Monday, Dec. 1, celebrating progress made battling the epidemic and bringing into focus remaining challenges. The 2008 theme is “Leadership: Lead-Empower-Deliver,” supported by the slogan "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise.”

 “We know that our fight against HIV/AIDS requires leaders in communities, states, and countries around the world to work toward the goal of eliminating the disease,” said Kentucky Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “World AIDS Day is an opportunity to draw attention to the continuing work being done by our state’s public health staff, community partners and advocates to raise awareness of the disease and prevent its spread in Kentucky.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.  Held on Dec. 1 each year, it was first declared in 1998 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN General assembly to raise awareness, remember those who lost their lives to the pandemic and honor those living and struggling against the resulting daily challenges of being HIV infected.  The current theme calls for “committed, accountable, leadership to empower mass engagement in the fight to stop AIDS and for follow-through and delivery of actions and activities that were promised over the years as a means of eliminating the disease.” 

According to data collected by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, there have been 4,890 cumulative AIDS cases reported in Kentucky as of June 30, of which 2,915 are presumed to be currently living with AIDS. The counties with the largest number of persons living with AIDS are Jefferson (1,184 cases), Fayette (422 cases) and Kenton (131 cases) counties.  Eighty-four percent of the cases are in adult men and on average from 2002 to 2006 the AIDS diagnosis rate among men has been approximately four times higher than for women.  During the same time period, the AIDS diagnosis rate for blacks was approximately eight times higher than for whites, and five times higher for Hispanics than for whites. In 2007, there were 237 new AIDS cases diagnosed in Kentucky. 

In the 27 years since the first cases of AIDS were diagnosed, advances in treatment, including great successes in drug therapy, have allowed for widespread access to life saving medication. Global leaders increasingly acknowledge the severe crisis posed by AIDS, and the domestic and global response to the pandemic has expanded by engaging an ever widening circle of stakeholders in the fight to stop AIDS. 

As part of the global call for action, Kentucky organizations are planning the following events around the state in late November and December:

- Outreach Ministries for the Healing of AIDS (OMHA), Paducah:  9 a.m.-noon on Nov. 29 at the Mini Conference Room at Harrison Street Baptist Church;
- HIV/AIDS Awareness Event: “Broken, But I’m Healed,” Sisters Keeping the Covenant: 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the St. Paul AME Church (251 North Upper Street, Lexington);
- Risk-Reduction workshops in Fayette and surrounding counties, The People of Color AIDS Project (POCAP): Dec. 1-15. Contact: Mark Johnson at (859) 294-0901;
- Month-long testing project to increase awareness of HIV status, Fayette County Health Department: Dec 1-31;
 - Walk-in testing Clinic, Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department: Through Dec. 1;
- Testing Event, Barren River District Health Department and Western Kentucky University: 9 a.m.-5 p.m on Dec. 2 at the Student Health Center (#1 Big Redway, Bowling Green);
- Red Ribbon Event, Candlelight Vigil and Reception, Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) HIV/AIDS Team: 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Investor Heritage Insurance Company (213 Second Street, Frankfort);
- Speaker and Poetry Presentation, Owensboro AIDS Task Force: 2 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Waitman Taylor Science Lecture Hall on the Brescia University Campus (717 Frederica Street, Owensboro);
- “My Story” by an HIV/AIDS Patient Panel and “The Legacy of Ryan White” told by his mother Jeanne White-Ginder, Kentucky AIDS Education and Training Center: 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the University of Kentucky Memorial Hall (610 S. Limestone, Lexington);
- Red Ribbon Ball, AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL): 7-11 p.m. on Dec 6 at the Round Barn at Red Mile (1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington); and
- Bar-Based Education Prevention Program in Carrollton, Gallatin, and Pendleton Counties by the Three Rivers District Health Department: –5 –9 p.m. on Dec. 29  at local bars in the listed counties.

The following events are planned for Dec. 1:

- Presentation and Reception, AIDS Services Coalition: 6 p.m. in the View Pointe Hall at the Muhammad Ali Center (144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville);
- Art Exhibit/Candlelight Vigil/Presentation, Heartland Cares Clinic: 7-10 p.m. at Madison Hall (919 Madison Street, Paducah);
- Awareness event, speaker- Rich Fortenbery “Founder of Heartland Cares”: 6 p.m. at Harrison Street Baptist Church (1124 Harrison Street, Paducah);
- “Know Your Status” Education/Awareness and Testing Event, Beta Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority:  1-5 p.m. Student Center Ballroom at Kentucky State University in Frankfort;
- Faith-Based and Prevention Education Forum in Bowling Green: 6-8 p.m. at the Taylor Chapel AME Church (503 Clay Street, Bowling Green);
 - HIV/AIDS Awareness Day- Focus on Communities of Color Presentation and Vigil, Matthew 25, Inc.: 6:30 p.m. CST at First Presbyterian Church (corner of Main and Washington Streets, Henderson);
 - Cumberland Valley District Health Department: Six HIV/AIDS Awareness Presentations in the counties of Rockcastle, Jackson, Bell, Clay, Harlan and Laurel. Contact the Cumberland Valley District Health Department for information at (606) 598-5564;
- Candlelight Vigil, AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL): 5 p.m. march from points all across the city through downtown Lexington to Phoenix Park. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display at the Lexington Public Library Central Branch downtown; and
- A partnership of the University of Kentucky, Volunteers of America (VOA) in Lexington, the Lexington Fayette Co. Health Department, AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL), and the KDPH will also be holding several additional events in the Lexington area. There will be a testing clinic at the UK Student Center, at VOA (Suite D, 1400 North Forbes Road), and at AVOL (corner of Third and Limestone streets).  In addition, an event featuring several presentations will be held from 12:30-5 p.m. at the UK Hospital Auditorium (# HG 611), as well as an event from 6-8 p.m. at the Chrysalis House (1589 Hill Rise Drive).

For more information about events and programs, contact the HIV/AIDS prevention staff at the KDPH: (800) 420-7431. For more information and statistics related to HIV/AIDS in Kentucky, see KDPH’s full data report online.

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Last Updated 11/26/2008