GHSU prepares to celebrate World AIDS Day - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

GHSU prepares to celebrate World AIDS Day

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World AIDS Day is traditionally recognized on December 1, but Georgia Health Sciences is getting a head start on the celebration. Thursday morning in front of the medical center, doctors, patients and representatives of the GHSU Ryan White Program kicked off World AIDS Day.

The day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with the disease and remember those who have died from it.

"When I first found out, pretty much, they were looking at me then telling me that I had maybe five, ten years, if I was lucky, and I was 24 years old," said David Thompson, a community outreach specialist, and HIV positive. "You know, you're not really ready to be told your life will be over at that point. But fortunately things have changed. Now I'm trying to work on a retirement plan."

The Center for Disease Control estimates 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV; nearly one in five of those are not aware that they are infected.

The event was sponsored by the GHSU Ryan White Program, named for the Indiana teenager who was diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 13. He and his mother Jeanne White Ginder, fought for his right to attend school, gaining international attention as a voice of reason about HIV/AIDS. In 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was passed to address the unmet health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. It funds health care and support services with the goal of getting people into care and keeping them there.

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