COLUMBIA - World AIDS Day 2013 is being celebrated throughout the week with free testing and speakers. Monday the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services held free HIV testing from 9 a.m. to noon and a candlelight vigil will be held at the corner of Ninth street and Broadway in Columbia.
Free walk-in HIV testing is available throughout the week at the Health Department and at the MU Student Center in Room 2206.
Boone County Public Health and Human Services Public Information Officer, Andrea Waner, said a new trend the department is seeing is concerning.
"For every new HIV case reported each year, one in four are youth aged 13 to 24,so that's a trend where seeing a lot more of," Waner said.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Reportable Disease Information, Boone County has approximately 221 people living with HIV and AIDS, which is the highest number of people living with the disease in the north central region of Missouri. The north central region overall has lower numbers of people living with the disease than other parts of the state. The highest region is the St. Louis area.
"About one in five people that are affected with HIV don't know there affected with HIV," said Waner.
Last year there were 535 new people diagnosed with HIV living in Missouri. As of June 2013, 243 people have been diagnosed and the number of deaths associated with HIV has decreased from 288 people in 2004 to 99 people in 2012. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 35.3 million people were living with HIV worldwide at the end of 2012.