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Every year, on December 1st, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. This day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. 

World AIDS Day Event – Columbia, MO

Spectrum is returning to not only our candle-light vigil, but also to our In-Person LIVE event! Select image to the left for a larger flyer.

Our candle-light vigil will begin at 5pm at the intersection of 9th and Broadway in downtown Columbia. As in years past, this is a time for our community to visibly acknowledge and remember those we have lost to this disease.

Then we’ll take a short stroll up to Café Berlin as we continue our evening with “Full Spectrum Burlesque” with the show starting at 6:30pm. As always, this event has no charge. Pasta La Fata will be on-hand offering food options for those needing a bite!  

We’ll have an assortment of great local musical guests and performances from “Drag Royalty”! We are THRILLED to have Veronika Versace (current Miss Gay Missouri USofA – one of the longest running Drag competitions in the country!) and Venus O’Hara (our current Miss Gay City of Columbia America) as our Emcees for the evening. We are pleased to have Lorilie and Liz Ayna rounding out the entertainers adding the Burlesque to our evening! 

We are also pleased to have wonderful local musical talent including The Burney Sisters returning for their third year! Lisa Rose Jazz has been a wonderful participant of Spectrum events in the past and will be gracing our stage for World AIDS Day for the first time, as will Meredith Shaw, another great local songwriter and artist.

Our “inclement weather plan” is to go virtual on Facebook Live, but let’s hope for great weather! ~ COVID precautions in place – vaccination card or negative test required, masks encouraged.

Why is World AIDS Day needed?

Over 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. alone. Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV, and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, in 2018 over 38,000 people were diagnosed in 2018 with HIV, an increase of 7% from 2014. People do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What can I do on World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day. You can order a red ribbon through our Square Store.

Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV. If you are living with HIV, starting treatment early means you can live a full, healthy and productive life. Everyone should be tested at least once a year if they are sexually active or have any other risk factors. Please visit our testing page for more information and to schedule an appointment to see one of our testing specialist today!

As always, Spectrum will be offering free HIV testing. We will have additional staff on hand to ensure access to services are not delayed or overbooked. With the COVID-19 restrictions still in place for the safety of our staff, clients, and patients, an appointment is required. 

Get Tested Today! Call (573) 514-7312

Lastly, attend a World AIDS Day event! Every year Spectrum Health Care organizes an event for raising awareness, remembering those we have lost to this disease and celebrate those conquering the battle against HIV. We also take time to recognize the progress made in finding a cure, strides made in reduction of prejudice and stigma surrounding HIV, ongoing outreach, and increased awareness about HIV transmission and how to live a healthy life when HIV+. 

What can I do after World AIDS Day?

As with any cause, ongoing shared support and awareness is key. While World AIDS Day is only once a year, you can still support people living with HIV all year long. Sign up to Spectrum Health Care’s mailing list to stay up-to-date with our agency and HIV health-related information. You can also support the agency and our clinical services year round with a donation or SHC merchandise purchase securely through our Square Site

As we have done for the past 28 years, Spectrum Health Care will continue to be a leader in providing care and education to ensure HIV+ persons live full and productive lives; and will continue to promote the most up to date, scientific methods to prevent new cases. Together we can honor those we have lost the battle against HIV disease and celebrate a world without HIV.