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World AIDS Day 2013

2013 World AIDS Day

World AIDS Dayis December 1, 2013.  It is a time to take stock of where we are on the journey to end AIDS, remember by name those who have gone before, and take actions to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

Locally, Shasta County Interfaith Forum (SCIF) is co-sponsor with the Shasta County HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group of World AIDS Day, on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 5 PM at the Center for Spiritual Living, 1905 Hartnell Ave. in Redding, CA.  Included in the program will be: music by Dick Sorensen; lighting of the Candles by David Wharton; Greeting by Rev. Mary Mitchell; prayer by Rev. Ann Muir Corrin; music by the CSLR Choir; guest speaker Rev. Heather Hennessey; prayer by Rev. Sandra Soley Keep; Bud Hinkle Award acknowledgement; candle lighting and angel name reading; and a blessing by Rev. Ann Louge.

According to David Wharton, there are approximately 300 people diagnosed with AIDS in our local area. The Shasta County HIV Food Bank, located at 925 Wall Street, Redding (behind Walgreens on Churn Creek) is open on the 1st & 3rd Monday of each month to serve this population.

The theme for World AIDS Day through 2015 is, Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections; Zero AIDS-related deaths; and Zero stigma and discrimination.

The hope and promise that surround HIV and AIDS is that we not only have significant medical science to stop the spread of HIV, we also have a very good sense of what to do globally (including in the U.S.) to end the epidemic.

There is a light at the end of the HIV and AIDS tunnel, but whether that light gets brighter or fades very much depends on the response of everyone.  The global AIDS response is calling on us to access our full capacity in bold, committed actions that prioritize the elimination of stigma and dramatically increase access to information, education and services, including HIV testing.