Candlelight vigil to be held for HIV/AIDS awareness Friday night

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - The City of El Paso Department of Public Health reports that more than 2,000 people in the Borderland are living with HIV and even more may be infected, but not yet diagnosed.

As part of their HIV Prevention Program, they're teaming up with other organizations throughout the county to bring awareness to the issue. On Friday, the Binational HIV/AIDS Candlelight Vigil will be held in order to raise social consciousness and help stop the shame and discrimination often associated with the disease.

The event brings together representatives from El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez to destigmatize testing and promote various methods of prevention and care.

"This event is a chance for us to share information with our partners in the region and to reflect on the challenges we face in this battle and the strides we have made in fighting the disease," said Joanna Arriola, Program Supervisor. "We need to remind everyone that about 1 in 8 people are living with HIV and don't know their status."

The public is invited to attend the vigil tonight, Friday, May 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church located at 1340 Murchison Drive. The event will feature testimonies from people impacted by HIV/AIDS as well as free and confidential HIV testing.

Various agencies will also be providing information about the services offered to the community and education on topics including HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and substance abuse.

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