November 24, 2003
On Monday, December 1st, Hawaii will join communities
throughout the world in a unified observance of World AIDS Day. Event
organizers hope to change the faulty perception that AIDS is no longer
a threat, a misconception that is a major contributing factor to the
continuing spread of the disease. The theme for this year’s
observance is "AIDS Isn’t Over!"
"World AIDS Day provides an opportunity to open channels of
communication, nurture social tolerance and strengthen the exchange of
information and ideas," said Nancy Kern, HIV/STD Prevention Coordinator
for the Hawaii Department of Health. "It’s a great time to take
stock and re-focus on the prevention and education efforts we need in
place to continue fighting the AIDS epidemic."
Approximately 3,000 HIV positive individuals live in Hawaii. Of the
more than 120 new AIDS case reported last year, 87 percent were male
and 27 percent were Asians and Pacific Islanders. Hawaii has a
relatively low rate of reported AIDS cases among injection drug users
(seven percent). This is due in part to the statewide needle exchange
program, which has been in operation since 1990.
Nationally an estimated one million people are living with HIV/AIDS;
an estimated 250,000 of these individuals are unaware that they are
infected. AIDS is currently the fifth leading cause of death among
people 25 – 44 in the U.S with approximately 40,000 new
infections each year.
Internationally the numbers are much worse. It is estimated that 42
million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS, resulting in
the death of more than 3 million people during the last year.
In acknowledgment of World AIDS Day, in memory of those who have
passed away, in recognition of those living with HIV/AIDS, and in
appreciation for the dedicated health care professionals working with
those affected by HIV/AIDS, a calendar of Hawaii World AIDS Day events
is attached. The public is welcome.
Big Island: Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation
- West Hawaii: (808) 331-8177
- East Hawaii: (808) 981-2428
Open House from 12 noon – 5:00 pm at both the Hilo and Kona
offices of the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation, followed by a
candlelight memorial service at the ocean at 5:30 pm in both
Kauai: Malama Pono, the HIV/AIDS service agency on Kauai, at (808)
There will be the ceremonial lighting of the first World AIDS Day
candle at the Kauai Hospice annual candlelight memorial service to be
held on December 1st.
Maui: Maui AIDS Foundation at (808) 242-4900
World AIDS Day Observance and Ceremony of Hope – A ceremony in
remembrance of the many friends and family members lost to HIV/AIDs and
a recognition and celebration for those living with HIV disease and
AIDS will be held at Trinity By the Sea Episcopal Church in Kihei from
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
Dine Out For Life – A select group of Maui restaurants, prior
to World AIDS Day and the day of World AIDS Day, will have HIV
educational and awareness information available for customers.
Additionally, these restaurants will donate a portion of their proceeds
to Maui AIDS Foundation the weekend prior to and the day of World AIDS
Oahu: STD/AIDS Prevention Branch, Dept. of Health (808) 733-9281
There will be a community observation at 5:30 pm at Church of the
Crossroads located at 1212 University Avenue (free parking available in
church lot; overflow paid parking in Varsity Theatre lot).
Governor Linda Lingle will make an official proclamation in
observance of World AIDS Day in Hawaii and will give remarks during the
event. Everyone in the community concerned about AIDS is urged to
attend this important occasion.
The event will honor those lost in the epidemic with a display of
the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Those courageously living with HIV/AIDS today
will also be recognized, as will the many people who have contributed
to helping fight the disease and to assisting individuals and families
affected by AIDS. Following the ceremony in the church sanctuary, there
will be a candle-lighting ceremony in the courtyard, and then
refreshments, entertainment, and fellowship in Weaver Hall.
For more information, contact:
Department of Health
STD/AIDS Prevention Branch
Laura M. Lott
Department of Health
Phone: (808) 586-4418