World AIDS Day is the first ever global health day and has taken place every Dec. 1 since 1988. It is a day which the entire planet comes together to remember the nearly 40 million lives lost to the virus, but also to acknowledge those still living with the disease today and to celebrate the advances made in fighting HIV/AIDS.

From candlelight vigils to luncheons and HIV testing sights, several groups and organizations have events throughout Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area for you whether you want to pay your respects or know your status.

CENTRAL FLORIDA

GLBT Community Center of Central Florida’s Free HIV Testing

Friday, Dec. 1, 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, Orlando

As they do every day, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida will have free rapid HIV testing from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Center also has free STD testing that day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For more information visit TheCenterOrlando.org.

World AIDS Day: Stand Up For an AIDS-free Generation

Friday, Dec. 1, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

MetroPCS (202 S. Orange Blossom Trail), Orlando

Several organizations including Hope & Help, Two Spirits Health Services, Miracle of Love and more will join host OAK Central Florida to recognize the significant progress that has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Tables will be set up by the various organizations with information on health, prevention and more. Miracle of Love will be offering free HIV testing from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. For more information visit OAKLives.org.

Miracle of Love’s Free HIV Testing

Friday, Dec. 1, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

Valencia College East Campus, Orlando

Miracle of Love will be offering free HIV testing and counseling at the East Campus of Valencia College, located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, in Orlando. More information can be found at MiracleOfLoveInc.org.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation 30th Anniversary Documentary Film Screening & Reception

Friday, Dec. 1, 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Shakespeare Theater, Orlando

Join AIDS Healthcare Foundation at the Shakespeare Theater for the Orlando premiere of their documentary film, Keeping The Promise: AHF 30 Years, starting at 7:00 p.m. A reception prior to the film’s screening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with an art exhibit and a red carpet walk. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided. The event is free but you must register for tickets. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.com.

Healing and Remembrance

Friday, Dec. 1, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Daytona Beach

The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, OutReach Community Care Network and the Comprehensive Care Center have organized a service at Daytona Beach’s Our Lady of Lourdes Church for everyone to show support for people living with HIV/AIDS, unite the community in the fight against HIV/AIDS and remember those who have been lost. Keynote Speaker Rev. Donna Choate will speak on the evolution of HIV and interfaith ministers will discuss issues of the disease ranging from hope, stigma, courage, anger and challenges. The healing ceremony will close with an invitation to participants to share photos of lost loved ones followed by a reception.

TAMPA BAY

13th Annual World AIDS Day 2017

Friday, Dec. 1, 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Florida Dept. of Health Hillsborough County, Tampa

Make plans to join the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County as they mark the 13th Annual World AIDS Day Block Party. The event will feature music, food, educational information and flu shots. They will also have free HIV and STD testing for anyone 13 and older. For more information visit Hillsborough.FloridaHealth.gov.

World AIDS Day Breakfast & Memorial

Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Empath Partners in Care, St. Petersburg

Join Empath Partners in Care (EPIC) as they look towards an HIV-free future and remember those who were lost as they ring the AIDS Memorial Bells. A light breakfast served. You are encouraged to RSVP by calling 727-328-3260.

Metro Wellness & Community Centers Free HIV Testing

Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

Various locations, Tampa Bay

Metro Wellness will be out and about in the Tampa Bay area the entire day offering free HIV testing. The schedule is as follows: Robin High School in Tampa, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Hillsborough Dept. of Health in Tampa, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; St. Pete College’s Gibb Campus in St. Pete, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Seminole Heights Library in Tampa, 6:00-8:00 p.m.; University Community Center in Tampa, 6:00-8:00 p.m.; and Enigma Bar & Lounge in St. Pete, 8:00-11:00 p.m. They will also have HIV testing at the St. Pete, Tampa and New Port Richey Metro Health Centers. More information can be found at MetroTampaBay.org.

World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil

Friday, Dec. 1, 6:00 p.m.

LGBT Welcome Center, St. Petersburg

Metro Wellness & Community Centers host a World AIDS Day candlelight vigil at the LGBT Welcome Center in St. Petersburg starting at 6:00 p.m. Find more information at LGBTWelcomeCenter.com.

Community AIDS Network’s World AIDS Day Luncheon

Friday, Dec. 1, 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, Sarasota

The Community AIDS Network hosts a luncheon for World AIDS Day. Lunch will be provided along with music, dancing, awards and raffles. To RSVP to the lunch or to find out more information about the event, please call Jessly at 941-366-0461, ext. 14402.

AIDS Walk Sarasota/Manatee 2017

Saturday, Dec. 2,

JD Hamel Park, Sarasota

The Community AIDS Network brings the 11th Annual Sarasota/Manatee AIDS Walk to JD Hamel Park on Saturday morning, Dec. 2. Come out for a morning of exercise, education and community camaraderie as CAN raises funds for HIV/AIDS services. Free rapid HIV testing will be available. The event is $10 and is pet friendly. For more information visit CCCSRQ.org.

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