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Today is World AIDS Day

Friday is World AIDS Day, a time for local health officials to remind the community about prevention and getting tested.

In El Paso, residents can get tested for HIV at no cost on Friday.

“We need to be sure that we are informed,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, health authority for the county.

Dr. Ocaranza said with the abundance of information available, getting tested for HIV/AIDS is becoming less stigmatized.

“That taboo has been broken and I think we are breaking ground in delivering the message to everybody. HIV can attack any of us and we need to know our status,” Dr. Ocaranza said.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control reported an estimated 87,000 people were known to be living with HIV in Texas. The CDC said one in seven individuals living with HIV do not know their status.

According to the CDC, of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S., more than 24 percent are women.

Among all the women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 62 percent were African-American, 18 percent were white, and 16 percent were Hispanic/Latina.

“If we have a loved one who has HIV, we need to continue giving them love, we need to continue giving them support because this is not a fight that has to be fought alone,” Ocaranza said.

The HIV Prevention Program will offer free confidential HIV testing from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the HIV Prevention Program located at 701 Montana Avenue.

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