November 18, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU, South Health District Recognize World Aids Day Dec. 1

VALDOSTA — The Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District Infectious Disease Office and Valdosta State University have teamed up to present “Behind the Masks: Telling the Truth and Creating Healing,” a World AIDS Day event, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, in Student Union Ballrooms A and B. This event is free and open to the public and will include lunch for the first 125 people who register in advance by visiting or calling (229) 259-5105.

Jim Sacco, a trainer and consultant who has been involved in HIV prevention and care since 1984, will share how communities, health care settings, and families can embrace the truth and let healing begin. As a social worker, he has provided HIV care in medical, mental health, and community-based settings. As a trainer, he has trained more than 40,000 health care workers at academic and governmental organizations throughout the United States since 1986.

World AIDS Day activities will include free HIV testing from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Student Union Ballroom C. 

“HIV disease continues to be an issue where shame and hiding lead to individuals remaining unaware of their status and not taking advantage of life-saving treatment,” according to information provided by event organizers. “Creating a climate in communities and in health care where consumers feel valued and accepted is the opportunity to health and healing.”

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died. It serves as a reminder that HIV has not gone away and that there is still a need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education. It was the first-ever global health day; the first event was held in 1988.

More than 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV in the United States, and almost one in six of them are unaware of their infection. Globally, an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 35 million people have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Call the Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District Infectious Disease Office at (229) 245-8711 or visit to learn more.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

VSU's ongoing partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health's South Health District Infectious Disease Office meets the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit to learn more.