News Release
November 26, 2012
Contact information

"Getting to Zero" is the theme for World AIDS Day 2012

HIV testing and public awareness events planned

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day 2012 will be observed to reflect on the impact of HIV, the lives saved, and the lives lost and with a new call to action – "Getting to Zero."

"This is the new battle cry for the world to rally around striving for zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS related deaths," said Peter Carr, director of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). "Just looking at the numbers, we definitely have an uphill challenge ahead."

Worldwide, there are currently 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV and 48,100 new HIV cases occur each year in the U.S.

An estimated 7,136 people are reported to be living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, and an average of 300 new infections are diagnosed each year - highlighting the fact that HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health issue in our state.

"In Minnesota, our greatest concern is that HIV continues to have a greater impact on certain communities," said Carr. "These communities tend to be the most vulnerable and have fewer opportunities to make the choices that allow them to live healthy lives."

Health officials noted that gay/bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, and men and women of color continue to have disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS. This is particularly true among African-Americans, Latinos and American Indian communities.

"HIV infection remains highly preventable," said Carr. Ways to prevent HIV infection include avoiding or delaying the start of sexual activity, using latex condoms consistently and correctly, avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs, and knowing your HIV status by getting tested.

"New research is showing that early diagnosis and getting infected persons into treatment and care can prevent the spread of HIV - but many people are not being tested," said Carr. "The good news is that there are several HIV testing and educational events set-up for the World AIDS Day observance as well as 21 MDH funded community-based programs serving the most affected communities that will be accessible throughout the year beginning in 2013 through 2014."

In a proclamation marking this year's observance, Gov. Mark Dayton called for all Minnesotans to educate themselves about the risks and testing opportunities for HIV and demonstrate compassion for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

To help provide dates and locations for prevention education and free testing opportunities, the MDH website offers a World AIDS Day calendar of events at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/worldaidsday/calendar.html.
World AIDS Day has been held annually since 1988 under the sponsorship of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and recently through the organization, World AIDS Campaign. More than 200 countries worldwide annually observe World AIDS Day.

-MDH-

World AIDS Day activities will occur throughout December
……in Minnesota, here are a few sample event listings……

Friday, Nov. 30, West Side Community Health Services, 153 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, MN 55107
No Tengas Miedo/World AIDS Day (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Free HIV testing and education available for walk-ins all day in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Bilingual staff will offer education in Spanish or English. HIV test results will be available in 10 minutes.

Friday, Nov. 30, Capri Theatre, 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Brother Circle Dinner and Discussion with Jamar "The Voice" Rogers (4 - 6 p.m.)

Join a discussion on HIV among gay and bi men within communities of color. The event will be hosted by Jamar Rogers, a finalist on NBC's The Voice, and will include a special appearance by VIP guest and LA singer-songwriter, LaMont Wheat, performing "Still Standing".

Friday, Nov. 30, Capri Theatre, 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Getting to Zero/Sarah Simmons Showcase (6 - 8 p.m.)

In memory of local AIDS advocate Sarah Simmons, this year's event will be joined by NBC's The Voice television show finalist, Jamar Rogers, and LA singer-songwriter, LaMont Wheat. An open mike forum and on-stage performances will be held to highlight the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on the local African and African-American communities.

Saturday, Dec. 1, Heart of the Beast Theater, 1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
World AIDS Day Discussion and House Ball (7 p.m. - midnight)

Join Kevin Moore and Rob E. Graham IV for a community discussion on HIV, stigma, and LGBT acceptance in the black community. The Ball will include free entertainment, HIV/STD testing and food.

Sunday, Dec. 2, World AIDS Day Services of Hope and Prayer
A coalition of area churches will hold morning Services of Hope and Prayer to support those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Participating churches include: Bethesda Baptist Church, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Kwanzaa Community Church, Macedonia Baptist Church, Pilgrim Rest Church and Shiloh Temple Church - all in Minneapolis, and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul.

Saturday, Dec. 8, Safari Restaurant and Banquet Center, 3010 4th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406
African World AIDS Day Event (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

The African World AIDS Day (AWAD) Planning Committee is hosting its ninth annual event in observance of AWAD. African youth performers, community leaders, agency exhibits, free HIV testing and a free lunch will be included during the event. Lunch will be served at Noon.

For additional information about World AIDS Day, visit the MDH website at:
http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/worldaidsday/index.html.


For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993

Peter Carr
MDH STD and HIV Section
651-201-4007