(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is participating in World AIDS Day on Thursday, Dec. 1, and is reminding all Coloradans that the department offers free at-home HIV and STI testing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World AIDS Day is an opportunity for every community and individual to honor the more than 32 million people who have died worldwide from AIDS-related illnesses.

World AIDS Day was started by the World Health Organization in 1988 as an international day to unite in the fight against HIV and to show support for people living with HIV, per the CDC. It was the first-ever global health day, according to CDPHE. The CDC says the observance is also reserved as a day to highlight new and effective programs and policies regarding HIV/AIDS.

2022’s World AIDS Day theme is, “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV.” 

“We are committed to eliminating the inequities that create barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and care, and to provide support to those who are living with HIV and those who are affected by HIV,” said Jessica Forsyth, director of CDPHE’S Office of STI/HIV/Viral Hepatitis. “It’s more important than ever to raise awareness about the availability of testing and treatment resources.”  

CDPHE works closely with trusted community partners and community members to ensure all Coloradans have access to testing and treatment. the department’s State Drug Assistance Program can also help qualified individuals living with HIV and those vulnerable to the acquisition of HIV pay for necessary medications. CDPHE works closely with care coordinators and case managers across Colorado who can help individuals navigate resources. 

For more information, go to CDPHE’s website.