Today is World AIDS day in Idaho and around the globe. World AIDS Day is an internationally recognized day to honor and remember the millions of people around the world who have been affected by the virus. The CDC estimates 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. One in five (20%) of those people are unaware of their infection. Organizers of the World AIDS Day events in Twin Falls hope to change that through testing education and support.

The theme for World AIDS Day this year is “Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.” For the past eight years, a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) has been on the front lines of HIV and AIDS prevention, education and support in Idaho.

a.l.p.h.a.'s founder and executive director, Duane Quintana, who is HIV positive himself, says he remains confident that prevention and education has played a big part in slowing the virus's spread, “Studies show that the faster you can get someone who has been infected with HIV tested the faster you can not only help that person prevent the spread of the virus, but you can also help the individual live and maintain a better quality of life as well.”

This year the Magic Valley area will mark the 23rd annual World Aids Day on December 1st with the following events:

There will be a HIV and AIDS informational fair at the College of Southern Idaho Student Union Building from 12:00-2:00 pm. The fair will include a presentation of the HIV: Idaho film and more. The event is free and open to the community.

From 1:00 to 5:00 pm today  a.l.p.h.a. will be offering free confidential 20 minute rapid oral HIV testing to the community. Testing will take place upstairs in rooms 211, 247 and 248 inside the College of Southern Idaho's Student Union Building. The testing is free and open to the public.

This year's World AIDS Day vigil will be held at 8:00 pm, tonight at the Twin Falls City Park in remembrance of those who have been infected or affected by HIV. Free hot cocoa, coffee and apple cider will be served.