UW Health: World AIDS day event set for December 1

November 21, 2014

CONTACT: Emily Kumlien

(608) 265-8199

(608) 516-9154

[email protected]

MADISON- More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS. To continue community discussion, the UW Health HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program will host a free community event in honor of World AIDS Day in Madison on Monday, December 1.

The event, which is open to the public, goes from 6-8:30 p.m. and will be held at The Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. There will be a documentary screening and a community panel discussion.

The documentary, “Positive Youth,” addresses the impact of HIV and AIDS on youth today, giving an up-close and personal look at the stigma, discrimination, dating, love, family and hope involved. The film will be followed with a panel of local HIV experts discussing the latest on prevention, detection and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Community members will also have an opportunity share their experiences.

“World AIDS Day is a chance for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support and commemorate those who have died,” said Dr. James Sosman, the medical director of UW Health’s HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program. “We want to provide an event that can educate all of us and discuss the stigmas associated with HIV and AIDS, which has led to so much harm.”

In 2013, 255 new cases of HIV infections were diagnosed in Wisconsin. On a national level, youth age 13 to 24 accounts for an estimated 26 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States.

“We want to provide a forum for community members to come together and talk honestly about their experience. Whether you are living with HIV, know someone who is, or you want to learn more, you are welcome to attend. Last year during our panel discussion, someone asked what HIV is. We want people to feel they can ask any question and we left feeling it was a success because we were able to educate at least one person,” said Rachel Luzbetak, event organizer and coordinator of medical case management of UW Health’s HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program.

“One in six people who are HIV positive are not aware of their status. Education and HIV testing help people get into care earlier to stay healthy and reduce new infections,” said Luzbetak.

UW Health HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program at UW Hospital and Clinics has been providing care for people with HIV/AIDS since 1985. It’s the largest provider of HIV clinical care in south-central Wisconsin.

The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988. UW Health’s program has sponsored an event the past 11 years and prior to that, the program collaborated with the AIDS Network to remember those lost to AIDS.

For more information call (608) 261-1781.