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Health department to mark World AIDS Day on Saturday

WOODSTOCK – World AIDS Day, which is commemorated annually Dec. 1, was established in 1988 by the World Health Organization to raise awareness and promote advocacy and education about the global AIDS epidemic.

In observance of World AIDS Day on Saturday, the McHenry County Department of Health is offering free confidential rapid HIV testing to individuals at high risk for infection.

To determine whether you qualify for free testing, call the health department at 815-334-4847.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.2 million Americans are infected. One in five is unaware of the infection. About 50,000 are newly infected every year, data shows.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports there are 123 people in McHenry County living with HIV, 72 of whom have advanced to AIDS.

The best way to protect yourself is to know your HIV status and that of your sexual partners. Most people change behaviors to protect their partners if they know they are infected with HIV.

For information, visit www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics or call the health department at 815-334-4500.

– Northwest Herald

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