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Denver Commemorates World AIDS Day

More than 10,000 people in metro Denver live with HIV

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment’s Denver HIV Resources is raising awareness about World AIDS Day on Monday, Dec. 2, by handing out free red ribbons at the Wellington Webb Atrium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Subject matter experts from Denver HIV Resources (DHR) will be on hand to connect with anyone wanting to learn more about DHR and HIV care and treatment in metro Denver. World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to remember those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

In the Denver metro area, 10,574 people were documented to be living with HIV in 2018. That accounts for about 75% of everyone living with HIV in Colorado.

As Denver’s nationally accredited local public health agency, DDPHE works collaboratively with city, state, federal, and community partners to advance the city’s public health goals. With the help of a $7.5 million grant through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, DHR oversees funding of services for people living with HIV in six Colorado counties, including: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson.

Achievement of viral suppression is the ultimate health outcome for individuals living with HIV. “We live in a time where we have access to excellent treatment for those living with HIV, as well as more medically advanced options that prevent HIV transmission,” says Robert George, DDPHE’s HIV Resources Section Program Manager.

Here are Five Important Facts about HIV:

  1. People on effective HIV treatment can’t pass it on to their sexual partners. A groundswell of research confirms the statement, Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U). When a person living with HIV is on effective treatment, it will reduce the level of HIV to "undetectable" levels which protects their health and makes them incapable of transmitting HIV to sexual partners. To learn more about the U=U Campaign, visit preventionaccess.org.
  2. HIV can’t be passed on through day-to-day contact. HIV can’t be passed on through things like touching, kissing, sharing cutlery, glassware, or dinnerware. 
  3. HIV can affect anyone. Learning about HIV and talking about it with your family and friends can be powerful in reducing the impact of HIV in your community. To find an HIV testing location near you please visit gettested.cdc.gov.
  4. People living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. People who test positive for HIV can stay healthy and prevent transmitting HIV to others by taking medications and using condoms. 
  5. There are many ways to prevent HIV transmission. People who test negative but risk exposure to HIV can prevent HIV transmission by: getting tested regularly for HIV if they’re sexually active, taking PrEP, using condoms and never sharing needles. PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily pill that prevents HIV transmission. To learn more about PrEP resources in Colorado, please visit https://proudtobeprepped.com/

Denver has long been a city on the forefront of battling the disease. It was the fourth city in North America to join the fight to end AIDS by 2030, as part of Fast-Track Cities. This global network of more than 300 cities is committed to attaining the UNAIDS90-90-90 target of: 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 90% of those receiving sustained ART will achieve viral suppression. 

DDPHE, Denver Health and Denver Public Health work to achieve these goals by funding and/or providing treatment and prevention services, as well as referrals to testing centers and other resources.

You can also recognize World AIDS Day by checking out an artistic mural wall installation at Denver Sweet, 776 N. Lincoln St. throughout December, sponsored by TestCO and The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.