JUNEAU - Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four As) is encouraging the entire community to Paint the Town Red: Wear the Original Ribbon. Red Ribbons will be available at many locations throughout Juneau.
In addition, the following World AIDS Day events are happening in Juneau:
University of Alaska Southeast Campus Red Ribbon Distribution - 10 a.m. Dec. 1.
Annual World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil - 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Baranof Hotel.
"Life Support" film showing - 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at Goldtown Nickelodeon.
20-minute HIV testing - 1 p.m. Dec. 3 at UAS campus. Free.
World AIDS Day began in 1988, and since then, has been held on December 1st every year to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS, raise awareness, provide education and fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. While we must focus on this disease more than one day a year, this one day is still a powerful reminder that there is still much to be done to fight both the disease and its stigma.
By Painting the Town Red we are showing that we are a community that cares for those living with HIV/AIDS and we are all a part of a community affected by HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day gives us the opportunity to provide community wide education and awareness to ultimately eradicate HIV transmission and its stigma.
As the lead HIV/AIDS organization in Alaska, the Four A's is responsible for providing HIV/AIDS services to 91 percent of the state. This includes all areas except for Fairbanks which has a separate AIDS service organization. Annually, approximately 250-300 individuals receive client services. Services for clients include case management, drug and alcohol counseling, transportation, mental health and substance abuse counseling, nutritional programs, payee representation and housing services, including long term and short term rent and utility assistance.
The Four A's also provides Prevention and Education to the community at large, at locations such as Polaris House, the Glory Hole, Gastineau Human Services, Juneau Youth Services, Lemon Creek, and Rainforest Recovery. We offer FREE oral swab HIV testing during business hours or by appointment.
For more information on World AIDS Day events or HIV/AIDS in Alaska, visit www.alaskanaids.org.