MASON CITY, Iowa - World AIDS Day is recognized every year on December 1st and this year efforts are being made to raise awareness, fight the epidemic and remember those who lost the lives to the virus.
This year's theme is increasing impact through transparency, accountability and partnerships.
Samantha Smith, a local disease prevention specialist with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health who says she hopes this day will encourage others to go out and get tested as they have seen an increase in HIV cases.
“We are still seeing an increase in HIV, I think last year as of December 31st there was like 136 new cases throughout the state so that is an increase to the previous year of 2015."
According to the United Nations Program on Hiv/Aids, 36.7 million people across the globe are living with HIV.