Lake County to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1

Ceremony, art exhibits to take place at Lake County Health Department in Waukegan

WAUKEGAN -- The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, as a member of the Lake County Stands Against Stigma Coalition, will host a free event to commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

The “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice” event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lake County Health Department at 3010 Grand Ave. in Waukegan.

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature a candle-lighting ceremony, art exhibits, and much more. Attendees will learn about the Illinois Getting to Zero initiative, which aims to see zero new HIV infections in Illinois and zero people living with HIV, who are not on treatment, by 2030. Attendees will also learn about ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic with an emphasis on HIV testing, increasing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications, and highlighting the importance of viral suppression.

All are encouraged to attend to learn about HIV, remember those who have lost their lives to the disease, and wear a red ribbon to show support and stand against HIV stigma and discrimination.

To RSVP or for information, call the Health Department’s Need2Know program at 847-377-8450.

“There is a risk of HIV resurgence due to injection drug use and other drug use, stigma, homophobia, transphobia, and lack of access to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services” said Valerie Johansen, sexually transmitted infection program coordinator at the Lake County Health Department. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the HIV epidemic thanks to the advancement of HIV treatment, care, and harm reduction strategies.”

About Lake County Stands Against Stigma

The Lake County Stands Against Stigma Coalition is a collaboration of community members including the Health Department, Catholic Charities of Lake County, Alexian Brothers Housing, and Amita Health Alliance’s the Harbor and Prairie State Legal Services. Our community partners include the office of state Rep. Rita Mayfield, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, AbbVie, Gilead, ViiV Healthcare, Community Walgreens, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Chi Eta Phi, and Nu Phi Nursing Sorority Inc. Community partners and volunteers work together for capacity building, advocacy, and the elimination of HIV-related stigma.

HIV Services Available in Lake County

The Lake County Health Department’s Need2Know program, located at 2400 Belvidere Road in Waukegan, offers many services to prevent new HIV infections in Lake County. The program assists clients with free and confidential HIV testing, medical benefits navigation, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, adherence counseling, harm reduction services, and linkage to other health services such as HIV and general medical care, behavioral health services, and mental health counseling. For information or to make an appointment, call 847-377-8450 or visit