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A commemorative walk, memorial program and chili cook-off are scheduled for Saturday at the American Red Cross in the 1900 block of E. Douglas to recognize World AIDS Day.
The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is one of several around the state promoted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
"The first step in preventing HIV from becoming AIDS is to be tested and be tested early," said Brenda Walker, KDHE director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention. "For 2011, too many of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Kansas were also AIDS diagnoses. Those who first learn of their HIV status when they already have AIDS have less likelihood of keeping their immune systems healthy long term."
On Dec. 3, the KU School of Medicine will offer free, confidential HIV testing at Wichita State University to students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In Topeka, Positive Connections will host a candlelight memorial at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Metropolitan Community Church. Free HIV testing will be offered Friday afternoon at The Lofts at College Hill, located at 1425 SW Lane in Topeka.
In Kansas City, testing will be provided Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Regnier Center on the Johnson County Community College campus.
The KDHE said nearly 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. Of those, one in five are unaware of it.