Events mark World AIDS Day

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Events are taking place Thursday around Savannah as part of World AIDS Day.

Savannah ranks second in the state for reported cases. Georgia ranks fifth in the nation for newly diagnosed cases.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one out of five people living with HIV/AIDS in America is unaware of their HIV status. Of these 21 percent don't know they are infected.

The Coastal Health District will offer free HIV testing in Savannah to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The public health department is offering the tests from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Forsyth Park in conjunction with the Georgia AIDS Coalition to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The confidential tests will be conducted with OraQuick Advance Tests, which involves taking a swab of the mouth and gums. The tests are free, confidential and available to anyone older than 13.

My Brothaz Home will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the center at at 2111 Price St. They also offer AIDS/HIV testing daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more details, call 912.231.8727.

My Brothaz House Executive Director Mark Douglas said the vigil is to celebrate the lives that were lost and bring attention to the matter and let people know that this virus is not over.

He said young men and woman who don't know their status, should be tested at least once a year.

"We want to make sure people do not continue to get infected with HIV/AIDS," he said. "It's always best to get checked out, particularly if there are risk factors."

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