Community Unites Against HIV/AIDS

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COLUMBIA - People from the local community came together Thursday to recognize World AIDS Day, held every year on December 1st. The event aims to give people a chance to show their support for those living with HIV and to remember the people who have died from the disease.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, Stephens College, RAIN, Trail to a Cure and SHAPE worked together to put on a series of events.

The groups organized a candle light vigil Thursday evening followed by a service of remembrance at the Firestone Baars Chapel on the Stephens College campus.

"If we keep those who are living with HIV and the struggles and issues they're dealing with in our minds and communities we can help them out," city health educator Dustin Hampton said. "We can also keep HIV in the collective minds so people will take those precautions themselves to avoid being infected."

The health department also hopes the events educate the community on how to prevent the disease. There are free HIV/AIDS testing every Monday morning and Thursday afternoon at the health department.