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Remembrance Service Marks World AIDS Day
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Story By: Brigitte Coles



  Originally Published on: 12/3/2012

The North Central Ohio AIDS Foundation hosted a World AIDS Day Remembrance Dinner  Sunday evening in the Corley Room at the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department.

Close to 25 people gathered for the celebration which honors those whose lives have been and continue to be touched by HIV/AIDS.

North Central Ohio AIDS Foundation secretary Becky Hoffmann said the dinner was open to the public, especially anyone in the community whose life has been touched by AIDS or has had a friend or family member affected by AIDS.

"I'm very passionate about this organization. My son died of AIDS 16 years ago and I've been working with this group to help people feel accepted and help them with some of their needs. We also want to educate people about AIDS," Hoffmann said.

 World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 and brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
  The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

 A service was held following the dinner with guest speaker Rev. Karen Bruno from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bellville.

The North Central Ohio AIDS Foundation meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department. The public is welcomed.

Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths." The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weaker, and the person becomes more susceptible to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.

Key facts

  • HIV is one of the world's leading infectious killers, claiming more than 25 million lives over the past three decades.
  • There were approximately 34.2 million people living with HIV in 2011.
  • HIV infection can be diagnosed through blood tests detecting presence or abscence of antibodies and antigens.
  • HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between an infected mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
  • A cure for HIV infection has not been found but with effective treatment with antireoviral drugs (ART), patients can control the virus and enjoy healthy and productive lives.
  • In 2011, more than 8 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low and middle-income countries, but another 7 million people need to be enrolled in treatment to meet the target of providing ART to 15 million people by 2015.

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