December 2019 marks the 31st annual World AIDS Day. To honor those who have been lost, as well as
those living with HIV/AIDS, Jackson County Health Department and other community partners are
holding the 2nd Annual Santa Speedo and Mrs. Claus in Bras 5K on Saturday, December 7th, 8:30 a.m.
Location is the Life Community Center, 2500 West Sunset Drive in Carbondale. Come and join the fun
wearing your professional running attire or spice it up with a little holiday fun! Have your picture taken
with Santa and join us in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Register at www.runsignup.com/santa5kcdale
First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day was initiated by health ministries from around the world who
called for a spirit of social tolerance, greater awareness, and the reduction stigma. Today we still have
the same urgent message of tolerance, compassion, greater awareness and reducing stigma.
According to Paula Clark, Director of the HIV Division at Jackson County Health Department, “HIV is still
among us in each and every community. Of every 10 people who have HIV, 6 are unaware. People
need to know their HIV status and reduce their risk. The community has grown complacent. Yes, it’s
true that deaths from AIDS have declined, but transmission still remains a concern.”
HIV Testing is available through your physician or your local health department. To find a testing location
near you go to http://hivcareconnect.com/. If you are HIV+, receiving treatment adds years to your life and
reduces the spread of HIV.
PrEP, (Pre-Exposure prophylaxis) is a once a day pill that reduces the chance of HIV transmission. PrEP
services at Jackson County include: education, medication access, referral to PrEP-friendly clinicians, and most
importantly, enrollment into appropriate medication assistance programs, including co-pay assistance for
those with insurance. PrEP is a medication that, when used consistently, has been shown to prevent HIV
infection in someone who is exposed to HIV through unprotected sex or injection drug use. Clark says, “If you
are HIV+ we have programs to help you. Now if you are HIV- we have ways to help you reduce your risk of
infection”. To find out if PrEP is right for you or someone you know please call (618) 684-3143 ext. 155.