(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The annual Erie County HIV/AIDS awareness walk will be held on Saturday.

The event begins at noon on May 21 at Adagio Health Erie (3530 Peach St. in Erie).

“We invite everyone to join us for the approximately 1.5-mile walk. Everyone has power over their health. We can all help prevent the spread of HIV,” said Gary Snyder, HIV disease intervention specialist at Erie County Department of Health.

This is the fifth year of the free event, which is hosted by the Erie County HIV Task Force and the Erie County Department of Health. Health education about HIV and free HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing will be provided on site by Adagio Health.

Supporters and participants of this year’s walk include Community Health Net, Erie Gay News, Nicotine Free Northwest Pennsylvania, Northwest Pennsylvania Pride Alliance, Pennsylvania Thrive Partnership and SafeNet.

HIV is a virus that causes AIDS, a condition that interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections, the event announcement said.

According to an event announcement from the county department of health, 2019 data shows an estimated 1,189,700 people with HIV in the United States, and some 13% of those people had not been diagnosed. An estimated 1 in 8 people are living with HIV unaware that they have the disease.

“We strongly encourage everyone in the community who is sexually active or shares needles for intravenous (IV) drugs to get tested for HIV,” Snyder said. “Talk to your health care provider on ways to reduce your risk to HIV and about annual HIV testing as part of your medical care. Testing results can help determine appropriate care and treatment if needed.”

For news delivered right to yousubscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists

For information about free and private HIV testing and free prevention, such as condoms and medication, go online to www.echiv.org.