HOUSTON (KIAH) –  It’s World AIDS Day and the Houston Health Department is inviting the community to commemorate and support people living with HIV, while remembering the lives lost.

The department, along with local health organization, are hosting this year’s World AIDS day remembrance ceremony starting at 6 p.m. at Sam Houston Park, located on 1000 Bagby St. 

The event will feature speakers including Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Health Department Director Stephen L. Williams and First Daughter Ashley P. Turner.  There will also be local artists, poets, and entertainers. 

“The City of Houston remembers those who lost their lives to HIV and continues to work hard at creating a community where HIV is stigma free and rare,” Turner said.  “Now more than ever, the work we do through our education programs and HIV testing centers is vital to increasing awareness and keeping Houstonians safe and healthy.”

According to the Houston Health Dept., more than 900 new HIV diagnoses and 360 HIV-related deaths were reported in 2020.  This why the CDC is working to reduce that number through the End the HIV Epidemic in the United States by 2030 initiative.  The EHE will help diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond to areas with new cases, like Harris County.

The Houston Health Dept. says it offers free and confidential HIV and STI testing at its health centers.  To find a location near you, click this link or call 832-393-5010.