(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A worldwide day of awareness brought free HIV testing to St. Joseph.
The St. Joseph Health Department will offer free testing all day Friday for people who stopped by as a part of the agency's events for World Aids Day.
World Aids Day has been celebrated since 1988 to remember those who have passed away from aids-related causes and to remind community members to get tested each year.
According to The St. Joseph Health Department, 88 people in Buchanan County were HIV positive in 2016.
Additionally, about 1 million people died of HIV related illnesses worldwide just last year.
"It's extremely important to know your status no matter what day of the year it is. Like any other chronic illness the most important things are early diagnosis and intervention so that an individual can begin treatment," Kelly Kibirige, St. Joseph Health Department community health services supervisor said.
The CDC recommends HIV testing for everyone aged 13-64.
HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact and injecting drugs as it cannot be transmitted by air, water, sweat or insects.
The St. Joseph Health Department offers HIV and STD testing by appointment Mondays-Fridays.
A World Aids Day evening service will held at Zion Church at 816 Faraon St. starting at 7 p.m to honor those who have lost their lives to HIV.