Oxford County public health nurses will be offering free HIV testing on Dec. 1 to mark World HIV/AIDS Day.
The Red Scarf Project will return to Oxford this year, but the symbolic scarves will make their way into Zorra Township.
Public health staff will tie the red scarves, knit by volunteers, to trees and lampposts in both Embro and Thamesford.
Every scarf has a tag that contains information about the virus, along with information on how to get tested in Oxford County.
The red scarf signifies the red ribbon that is associated with HIV/AIDS awareness.
Those in need of a warm scarf are welcome to take one and keep the conversation going about the illness.
Originally created by the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection in London five years ago, the Red Scarf Project has since expanded to other centres in the region including Sarnia, Stratford and others.
This will be the fourth year Oxford County has participated in the project.
Confidential HIV testing offered at public health on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS (Courtesy of Oxford County public health)
- According to the World Health Organization, 36.7 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2015.
- In Canada, 75,000 people were living with HIV at the end of 2014. It is estimated 21% of people who are HIV positive do not know they are infected (Public Health Agency of Canada).
- The red ribbon symbol was first developed in 1991 and has become the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV.
- HIV testing is available through Oxford County Public Health or primary care providers.