Local Community Groups Unite in Honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 | Free HIV Testing at Select Health Centers | Day to Culminate with Candlelight Vigil on Capitol Steps


Monica McCafferty

Published: 11.21.11| Updated: 11.21.11

DENVER – In recognition of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is partnering with ONE Colorado, the Denver STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS (CORA), and The GLBT Community Center of Colorado to offer free HIV testing locations throughout the Denver Metro Area and Colorado Springs. 

A candlelight vigil, open to the public, will also be held on the west steps of the State Capitol beginning at 5:30 p.m. to remember those who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. The vigil will feature guest speakers Dr. Mark Thrun, director of HIV Prevention and STD Control for Denver Public Health and with the Denver STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, and Dr. Benjamin Young, executive medical director for Rocky Mountain Cares. Rocky Mountain Cares provides high quality centralized medical care and supportive services to a diverse and inclusive Colorado HIV/AIDS community.

World AIDS Day first originated in 1988. This year’s campaign focuses on Getting to Zero—from zero new HIV infections to zero discrimination to zero AIDS related deaths.

“It’s exciting to see Colorado’s nonprofit community come together for this year’s campaign, said Amy Dickson, PPRM vice president of clinical services. Getting to zero stands for a push towards greater access to treatment for all and a call for governments to act now—all the organizations involved in this year’s event touch on some aspect of this overarching theme. Planned Parenthood is so proud to offer the community free HIV testing on Dec. 1. Testing is the first step to prevention.”

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their recommendation for HIV testing to begin at age 16 for some teens, stigma, fear, judgment and other barriers continue to get in the way of routine testing. Every 9.5 minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV and 1 in 5 individuals don’t know that they are HIV positive.

“Thirty years ago the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in the Unites States. While we have made huge advancements in treatment we still have a large distance to travel. We estimate that there are about 11,000 people in Colorado who are known to be living with HIV. And 2000-3000 are living with HIV, but are not yet diagnosed. Approximately 430 people are diagnosed with HIV in Colorado each year. The Obama administration has developed a national strategy which is to serve as a concise plan for moving the country forward, but knowing your status is still the most important step an individual can take to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Mark Thrun, medical director, HIV prevention/Denver Public Health.

Testing is simple; PPRM’s HIV test is a finger prick and results are available within 12 minutes or less. On Dec. 1, clients are encouraged to make an appointment or walk in to any of the testing locations.

The free testing sites and vigil are just a few of the many events in honor of World AIDS Day. St Paul United Methodist & Inter-Spiritual Community will be hosting a Service of Remembrance & Celebration at The GLBT Community Center of Colorado on Dec. 1 from 4-5 p.m. In addition, CORA is participating in an educational and visibility campaign called Get Your Cake On. Through this effort, bakeries across Colorado are spreading the word through red ribbon cupcakes. During the week of Nov. 28, stop by a participating bakery to get your cake on. Local bakeries participating in this campaign can be found on Facebook or at

Planned Parenthood Aurora health center
1284 S Abilene Street, Aurora
11 am – 6 pm

Planned Parenthood Central health center
921 14th Street, Denver
9 am - 5 pm

Planned Parenthood Southwest health center
1400 S. Wadsworth Blvd, Lakewood
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Planned Parenthood Westside health center
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The Center
1301 East Colfax Avenue, Denver
4 – 7:30 pm

1720 Pearl St., Denver
4:30 - 8:30 pm

605 Bannock St. (STD clinic @ Denver Public Health)
Room 162, Denver
Offered throughout the day and evening, call 303.602.3600 for further information.

Thursday, Dec. 1 – 5:30- 6:30 p.m.
West Steps of the State Capitol
200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO
Featured Speakers:
Mark Thrun, director of HIV Prevention and STD Control for Denver Public Health and with the Denver STD/HIV Prevention Training Center
Dr. Benjamin Young, executive medical director for Rocky Mountain Cares.
Additional speakers to be announced.


Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy. More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 28 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming. Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit for the health center nearest you.

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