The city of El Paso is hosting events that spread awareness and provide free HIV tests.
The city will also be holding events at the El Paso Museum of History to fight against stigma of the disease with guest speakers sharing their experiences living with HIV.
Free and confidential testing will be done:
1 - 4 p.m., Dec. 4, at the El Paso Museum of History, 510 N. Santa Fe St.
All protective measures against COVID-19 such as social distancing, wearing a mask, etc. will be strictly observed. Those in attendance will also get free admission to the El Paso Museum of History on Dec. 4.
El Pasoans are invited to visit the museum to listen to people who are living with HIV/AIDS share stories about their diagnosis, their experience living with AIDS and how those taking PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, can prevent HIV.
PrEP is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The event runs:
1:30 - 2:30 p.m., Dec. 4, at the El Paso Museum of History.
Through Dec. 4, the museum will display the large "Red Ribbon" to commemorate people who died from HIV/AIDS, as well as people who are living with the disease. El Pasoans are encouraged to leave positive messages if they know someone fighting HIV or who died from it.
World Aids Day is Dec. 1 and was first observed in 1988. Each year, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma and call for an increased response to move toward ending HIV.
More than 2,360 El Paso County residents are living with HIV, according to 2019 data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Since then, there have been an additional 110 individuals newly diagnosed with HIV in the county.
The data shows that the Hispanic population bears the highest burden of people living with HIV in El Paso.
According to the CDC, an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2016, the most recent year for which this information is available.
Of those people, about 14%, or 1 in 7, did not know they had HIV.
Globally, HIV continues to be a major public health issue. In 2019 an estimated 38 million people were living with HIV, including 1.8 million children.
For more information on the HIV Prevention program, call 2-1-1 or visit EPHealth.com under the HIV Prevention Tab.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: City of El Paso offers free, confidential HIV tests for World AIDS Day