(Santa Ana, CA) – The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) recognizes World AIDS Day 2022 as an opportunity to support the well-being of those with HIV; to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illness; and to promote prevention, care, and treatment services to end the HIV epidemic.
Recognized on December 1st, the 2022 World AIDS Day campaign theme is “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV.” The theme is designed to address inequalities that hold back progress to end AIDS and raise awareness to end stigma and discrimination and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV.
“As of 2021, there were 6,772 persons living with HIV locally,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, HCA County Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer. “While great strides have been made in the treatment and prevention of HIV, this disease remains a public health challenge. We need our community to routinely screen for HIV as part of their routine medical care. Knowing your HIV status is important to prevent new HIV infections.”
Data from UNAIDS on the global HIV response reveals that during the last two years of COVID-19, progress against the HIV pandemic has faltered, and lives are now at risk.
The HCA encourages the local community to take action to stop the spread through the following steps:
- Get tested and know your HIV status;
- Use condoms for protection from HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs);
- Know prevention options if HIV-negative, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may help protect you from getting HIV; and
- Learn about new treatment options to get and stay virally suppressed, which means having an undetectable viral load if HIV-positive.
“Current treatments allow individuals who live with HIV to stay healthy and prevent transmission to others,” said Dr. Margaret Bredehoft, HCA’s Chief of Public Health Services. “Through HCA’s 17th St. Testing and Treatment Clinic, as well as community-based partnerships, residents can readily access confidential HIV testing and treatment.”
If you have never been tested for HIV, ask your doctor for an HIV test. Free, confidential HIV testing is available at the agencies listed below.
Local World AIDS Day Events:
- The City of Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee will host a Meet & Greet at 3 p.m. on the Main Beach cobblestones followed by a Candlelight Celebration from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Laguna Beach Community Clinic will be providing free HIV testing vouchers at the event.
HIV testing is available year-round at these locations:
To make an appointment or for additional information regarding testing, contact:
- APAIT Health Center: Call (714) 636-1349 or visit http://www.apaitonline.org for more information. Testing is offered Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- OC Health Care Agency/17th Street Testing, Treatment and Care Clinic: Call (714) 834-8787 to make an appointment or visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/std for more information. Walk-ins are accepted based on availability. Clinic hours:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Radiant Health Centers: Call (949) 809-8764 or visit https://www.radianthealthcenters.org/ for more information. Walk-ins are accepted. Hours:
- Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
- Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
- Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and
- Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- The LGBTQ Center Orange County: For more information or to make an appointment, call (714) 953-5428 or visit https://www.lgbtqcenteroc.org/. Testing is offered:
- Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.,
- Wednesday and Thursday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and
- Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information on World AIDS Day, visit: https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day.