World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1 and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
In 2019, South Carolina was selected by President Trump as one of seven priority states alongside 48 counties, the District of Columbia, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of the new national strategy to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. Federal officials are collaborating with state and local stakeholders to expand access to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services in these areas.
Ending the Epidemics SC (EtE SC) is a campaign to impact four major issues affecting the health of South Carolina by 2030. Its vision is a South Carolina free of new cases of HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis and Substance Use Disorders.
On December 1, DHEC, DAODAS and EtE SC invite students, healthcare workers, people living with or affected by HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis and Substance Use Disorders, the media, faith-based communities, and others across the state to participate in the Ending the Epidemics SC / World AIDS Day 2020 Facebook live event at 5:30 pm. There will also be a silent viewing of the AIDS ribbon and an information table at the South Carolina State House (1100 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC).
In observance of the day and to continue its work to prevent and control HIV and related health issues, DHEC will be sponsoring free testing events at local health departments around the state on Tuesday, December 1. Clients can be tested for HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis C at no cost.
Other World AIDS Day events are happening in communities across the state in November and early December.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know they have it. It is important for people to get tested and know their diagnosis so those who have HIV can get treatment as soon as possible.
As of December 31, 2018, there are over 20,000 South Carolina residents living with diagnosed HIV infection (including AIDS). Between 2017 and 2018, 1,546 people were newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in SC. Of those newly diagnosed, 68 percent were African American, 25 percent were white, and 5 percent were Hispanic.