On Saturday, World AIDS Day will be observed throughout the world. Since 1989, the yearly commemoration brings attention to what is happening globally to those affected by HIV/AIDS. This year's theme of "Getting to Zero" begins the goal of attaining "Zero AIDS Related Deaths," "Zero Discrimination" and "Zero New Infections" by 2015.
Red Ribbon Project, Eagle County's HIV/AIDS organization, will join in the observance by hosting an awareness and fundraising event at Main St. Grill in Edwards, on Saturday, from 6 to 10 p.m. Live music, door prizes and fabulous silent auction items, including restaurant gift cards, lodging at the Lodge Tower in Vail, Orvis flyfishing trip and jeep trip will be part of the evening. Main St. Grill is donating 10 percent of the evening's proceeds to Red Ribbon Project.
Free and confidential HIV testing will be offered on Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Eagle Care Clinic, Edwards Medical Center and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Colorado Mountain Medical in the Vail Hospital. Results via finger prick are available in 10 minutes and no appointment is necessary.
The mission of Red Ribbon Project is to promote healthier lives by empowering the community to reduce teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Much of Red Ribbon Project's education effort is focused in local middle and high school through its Youth Skills Building Program. Knowledgeable health educators teach a variety of class subjects including not only HIV and STD information, but classes on self-esteem, drug and alcohol prevention, depression and suicide prevention, anti-bullying, and goal setting, all factors that help young people to make healthy choices that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Local students were involved in this year's World AIDS Day event through a poster contest at Battle Mountain High School. The winning poster was designed by Karely Duran. Major sponsor for this year's event comes from Alpine Bank with additional support from Wells Fargo, Gallegos Corporation and BeforePlay.org.
"Colorado statistics indicate the number of people living with HIV is still increasing at a rate of 3 percent per year with the highest at risk being young people," said Denise Kipp, executive director of Red Ribbon Project. "While HIV/AIDS is not a huge problem in Eagle County, it is the Red Ribbon Project's goal to keep it that way."
For more information, contact Red Ribbon Project at 970-827-5900 or www.redribbonproject.org.