December 1 marks the annual observance of World AIDS Day. Locally, World AIDS Day ceremonies are being held in Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach.
The Pensacola World AIDS Day event takes place at 6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, downtown. The program features a keynote speech by Dr. Susan Walch from the University of West Florida Psychology Department. Afterward, there will be a candlelight walk to Sole’ Inn on Palafox Street, where AIDS Memorial Quilts will be on display. Also, on-site HIV testing will be available.
Plans are almost final for next week's World AIDS Day observance in Pensacola.
Maurice Moody is a member of the World AIDS Day Planning Committee in Pensacola. He was speaking at a press conference held Tuesday morning about plans for this year's World AIDS Day. He said the theme of this year's observance is "Getting To Zero".
Moody says this means, " Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related fatality. And, as an optimist, I believe we can do that."
Syphilis is nothing new. "Syphilis has been a problem in Escambia County for as long as the Escambia County Department of Health has been around which is 193 years" said Dr. John Lanza, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County. But over the past four years the number of cases of the sexually transmitted disease in Escambia County has risen dramatically.
World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on December 1st. Pensacola and surrounding communities held an observance at the Hancock Pavilion at Community Maritime Park Stadium.
The event provided an opportunity support those suffering from HIV and AIDS. Also, it was a time to remember those 1,224 Northwest Florida residents who have lost their lives to the disease. Many of those individuals were honored with AIDS memorial quilts that were hung from the rafters.
There were performances by the Belmont Youth Band and Ballet Pensacola.