December 1 marks World AIDS Day to bring the spotlight back on a disease that in 1994 was the leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, according to AIDS.gov. Millions died worldwide before antiretroviral treatments were discovered, and the disease continues to affect millions more. In Santa Barbara County, 544 people died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and nearly 600 people in the county live with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Around the country, about 50,000 are newly infected each year, one in five of whom don’t know it.
HIV passes from person to person via unprotected sex or sharing needles with a person with HIV, and by a blood transfusion, breastfeeding, or pregnancy from an infected person. It can take up to a decade before symptoms appear. Testing is free, anonymous, and available in the county at locations listed here at the Public Health website.
The Pacific Pride Foundation will have its mobile testing van at the “G’Eighties Night” party it cohosts with Velvet Jones (423 State St.) tonight starting at 8 p.m. The $5 cover charge gets 21-year-olds and older in the door for an ’80s flashback costume party with Deja Re and DJ Darla Bea, and Velvet is donating the fee to Pride.