The Erie County HIV Task Force and Erie County Department of Health (ECDH) will host the 2021 World AIDS Day Memorial Program on Dec. 1.

Various topics such as advancements in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, the history of AIDS and reflections from survivors will be discussed by speakers from ECDH, Adagio Health and Northwest Alliance.

“We are recognizing the milestone of 40 years since the first HIV cases were reported here in the United States,” said Gary Snyder, HIV disease intervention specialist at ECDH. “As we reflect on how Erie County has been affected and responded to HIV since 1981, this year’s event theme of ’40 Years of Progress’ recognizes four decades of achievements in research, advocacy and ground work.

“The program agenda will also reflect on individuals no longer with us due to HIV/AIDS.”

Erie County residents can submit names of loved ones for recognition during the program by emailing gsnyder@eriecountypa.gov. People in attendance will be able to see panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt sponsored by Northwest Alliance, the world’s largest living memorial recognizes over 100,000 lives ended prematurely by HIV.

The Erie County HIV Task Force is a collaboration of local organizations and individuals dedicated to educating, supporting and advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventing the spread of infection. It works together with the ECDH to combat HIV and AIDS by collaborating on a collective culture of compassionate care for persons living with HIV and those at risk for contracting the virus.

“Everyone can help prevent the spread of HIV. Talk to your healthcare provider on ways to reduce your risk of HIV,” Snyder said.

The Erie County Department of Health encourages to request annual testing for HIV as part of their medical care. For sites in Erie County offering free and confidential HIV testing, counseling and free condoms, click HERE.

The event is free and open to the public inside the H.O. Hirt Auditorium at Raymond Blasco Memorial Library on Dec. 1. The program will begin shortly after 5 p.m. .

For more information, click HERE. For confidential HIV counseling, contact Erie County Department of Health at 814-451-6714 or ecdhinfo@eriecountypa.gov.

For news delivered right to you,subscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’sbreaking, daily news & severe weather email lists.