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Saturday is World AIDS Day, a day to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS, to fight prejudice, improve education and to remind people that HIV has not gone away.
It is also a day to remember those infected and affected with HIV/AIDS and to memorialize the many loved ones who have passed away.
According to the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS estimates, there are now 39.5 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children, and during 2006, some 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.
About 95 percent of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
There are more than 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. today. Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation.
AIDS Volunteers, Inc., a non-profit organization, has been committed to providing education, outreach and advocacy about HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Kentucky since 1987. The organization services 72 counties offering client and social services, housing and basic needs services, prevention outreach services, two housing programs for individuals infected with HIV and a volunteer program. It also offers free and anonymous testing clinics on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.
Its prevention Team is available to do speaking engagements or participate in community health fairs free of charge.
Also on Saturday, AVOL will be having its annual Art for Life fundraiser at the Red Mile in Lexington.
Anyone wanting to volunteer or make a tax-deductible donation, should contact its office at 263 N. Limestone St., Lexington, Ky. 40507, (859) 225-3000, (877) 225-9245 or visit the Web site at www.aidsvolunteers.org.