La Salle County Health Department offers free, confidential HIV testing, counseling

World AIDS Day set Dec. 1, a day of solidarity for those who are affected by HIV

The La Salle County Health Department has COVID-19 vaccines available at the health department by appointment only, Monday through Friday.

World AIDS Day is Thursday, Dec. 1.

It is a day of solidarity for people around the world who are affected by HIV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is a day for voices to unite by sharing experiences, remembering those lost, and standing together in the fight against HIV. While great strides have been made in the four decades since the first known reported cases of AIDS, this disease remains a public health challenge. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for every community and each individual to honor the more than 32 million people who have died worldwide from AIDS-related illness.

Increased knowledge of the disease and improved diagnostic and treatment methods have led to significant advances in the clinical management of HIV and a delay in the progression from HIV to AIDS, and thus, individuals receiving treatment in the U.S. are living longer.

In the role of prevention, it is important for individuals to know their HIV status since many individuals remain free of clinical signs for months to years.

HIV is spread by the exchange of blood, semen, or vaginal secretions between individuals. The most common routes of transmission are having unprotected sex with an infected person; sharing drug injection equipment with an infected person; and from mother to infant at the time of birth or through breastfeeding.

La Salle County Health Department offers free, confidential HIV testing and counseling services to individuals at risk who are older than 12. Appointments preferred. Individuals may call 815-433-3366 to schedule an appointment. For more information you can also visit www.lasallecountyil.org.