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Marion County marking World AIDS Day with free health event

Health Department holds World AIDS Day event downtown

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Public Health Department is marking World AIDS Day on Friday with a free wellness event.

“Health and Wellness for All” will offer free HIV and STI rapid testing, free health screenings, and free flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 1650 N. College Ave. in Indianapolis.

The event will also have games, giveaways, and hot chocolate.

World AIDS Day falls on December 1 every year. It is a way for people around the world to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic, support those with HIV and AIDS, and remember those who’ve died of the disease.

As of 2022, there were over 5,000 people with HIV living in Marion County, the health department says, along with another 800 people who did not know they had the disease.

More than 23 million people worldwide, including more than 700,000 Americans, have died from an AIDS-related illness.

One of those Americans was Ryan White, a 13-year-old Kokomo boy with hemophilia who contracted HIV in the 1980s through a transfusion of contaminated blood.

After his diagnosis, Ryan and his family faced bullying and discrimination. There wasn’t as much understanding then about HIV and AIDS as there is today, and some people were afraid they could get sick just by sharing the same classroom, using the same water fountain, or being in the same space as Ryan.

Ryan’s courage and strength despite these obstacles, and his efforts to teach others about his battle with the disease, inspired millions worldwide. He died at age 18 at Riley Hospital for Children, but his legacy continues in places like the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which tells Ryan’s story in the Power of Children exhibit.

Information about the Marion County Public Health Department’s effort to end the HIV epidemic, including connecting to care and learning more about living with HIV, is available at