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AIDS awareness banners to hang from Arizona public buildings

PHOENIX — From Phoenix to Tucson, Scottsdale to Sedona, banners marking World AIDS Day are draped across public buildings in more than 20 Arizona cities.

The banners can also be seen at more than 200 Walgreens stores across Arizona. World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.

The banners include a new web address, The site is designed for people who don’t know their HIV status, who recently discovered they are HIV positive or who want to know where to get tested.

During a news conference at Phoenix City Hall, Dr. Bob England, directory of Maricopa County Public Health, encouraged physicians to make HIV testing part of routine health care.

“Knowing your status and getting early treatment is everything, not just for you, but for those you love,” he said.

Kit Kloeckl, executive director of Aunt Rita’s, a nonprofit agency that advocates HIV education and awareness, said up to 40 percent of Arizonans have never had an HIV test.

“We want to bring attention back to this disease. This disease has gone out of the media and is not talked about anymore. There is no shame in knowing your status,” Kloeckl said.

According to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS,

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton talked about how the disease has impacted his family. His wife’s 28-year-old brother died from complication of AIDS in 1991.

“And, her older brother was the first in their family to go to college and he served as a mentor to her. The impact on her and her life is indescribable,” Stanton said.