Baltimore City Commemorates World AIDS Day
Friday Dec 2nd, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (December 1, 2016) – In recognition of World AIDS Day 2016, representatives across Baltimore City honored those lost to AIDS and recommitted to eliminating the disease in Baltimore City. World AIDS Day is a global annual event held on December 1st to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for those living with HIV, and commemorate those who have passed.
“Today, we remember all those we have lost to the AIDS epidemic and recognize those currently living with HIV in Baltimore City,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Across the board, we have made a great deal of progress in our fight against HIV and AIDS in Baltimore; however, we must work to further reduce new infections and improve the quality of life for all our residents.”
Throughout the day, the Baltimore City Health Department and partners across the city provided free testing for residents, culminating with an evening event with Mayor Rawlings-Blake to celebrate those with HIV who are living and thriving, while honoring lives lost.
"Under Baltimore’s leadership, and through the commitment of a range of public and private partners, we have continued to expand access to testing, prevention, and care for HIV,” said Dr. Wen. “As we recognize World AIDS Day, we acknowledge that while Baltimore has made much progress, much more must be done. We must continue to do the critical work of public health to reduce disparities and fight stigma, because we cannot afford to lose the next generation to this potential deadly, but preventable disease.”
An estimated 13,000 Baltimore City residents are living with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 3,000 people in Baltimore City are HIV infected and do not know it. On average, the Baltimore City Health Department performs more than 50,000 HIV tests and connects thousands of individuals with HIV/AIDS to high-quality primary medical care every year.
Additionally, Baltimore City has been awarded substantial funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support efforts to reduce HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender populations, with an emphasis on MSM of color.
The funding supports the Baltimore City Health Department’s Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) program to reduce the acquisition of HIV. PrEP is a preventative approach to HIV infection that addresses risky behaviors and involves daily administration of an antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection if exposed.
In 2015, Baltimore was invited to join the Fast-Track Cities Initiative, a world-wide declaration to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic that aligns with the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy for ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
For more information about Baltimore City’s HIV prevention efforts, please visit: http://health.baltimorecity.gov/hivstd-services/hivstd-prevention-program.