HDHHS, community organizations

to commemorate World AIDS Day

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services and various HIV/AIDS-related organizations will observe Friday as World AIDS Day by forming a large "Human AIDS Ribbon" and offering free HIV testing.

Staff with HDHHS and local agencies and interested citizens, all wearing red attire, will gather at 10 a.m. Friday in Hermann Park next to Miller Outdoor Theatre and form the shape of a ribbon. Councilman Jew Don Boney will speak at the event, sponsored to raise public awareness of the impact AIDS has in society and help prevent the spread of HIV.

Free HIV testing and education will be offered from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Sharpstown Mall, 7500 Bellaire Blvd., and at Northline Mall, 400 Northline Street.

Agencies helping sponsor the events include the Montrose Clinic, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans (AAMA), Families Under Urban Social Attack, Houston Area Community Services and Chicano Family Center.

After 20 years of the epidemic, a total of 18,436 cases of AIDS have been reported to HDHHS. Cases of new HIV infection reported to HDHHS between January 1999 and September 2000 total 2,514.

People interested in helping form the "Human AIDS Ribbon" need to gather at Hermann Park by 9 a.m.

For more information, call HDHHS’ Bureau of HIV/STD Prevention at 713-794-9330.