NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Riverfront Park in North Charleston will be the site of a candlelight vigil Monday night in celebration of World AIDS Day.
The ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Naval Base Memorial. The program will include speeches from activists, as well as performances by the College of Charleston acappella group The Charleston Vibes and the Grace Metropolitan at Adam's AME Church of North Charleston choir.
December 1 is World AIDS Day. Celebrated since 1988, the event raises awareness of HIV while honoring those who have died from the condition.
The vigil is sponsored by the Charleston Area World AIDS Day Committee. This year's local theme is "Connecting Communities."
"Our goal as a committee is engage the awareness of the local community, to erase the stigma attached to HIV, and to start a conversation about this crucial issue happening right here in our neighborhoods," said Committee Chair Topher Larkin.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control strongly encourages residents to get tested for HIV.
According to DHEC, more than 15,700 people in South Carolina are living with HIV.
"HIV is a preventable disease, yet every year more than 500 new HIV infections are identified in South Carolina," said Janet Tapp, director of DHEC's STD/HIV Division. "Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection is essential to slow the disease's progress through the body."
For more information on HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, click here.