HIV/AIDS Awareness Day December 1, 2020 WHEREAS, the health and well-being of all Alaskans is essential for a bright future; and WHEREAS, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases, destroying the body’s ability to fight off infections and disease. HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency, or AIDS, if not treated. AIDS is the most detrimental phase of HIV infection, leaving its victims with such severely damaged immune systems that they can become infected with an increasing number of serious illnesses; and WHEREAS, the human body cannot cure HIV completely, even with medical treatment, therefore an individual with HIV will have it for life. Currently, there is no cure, however this disease can be managed with proper medical care; and WHEREAS, in Alaska, 1,959 cases of HIV/AIDS have been confirmed since reporting began in 1982, through 2019. People living with HIV (PLWH) may be at increased risk of COVID-19 complications if they are not on an effective ART regimen or have a low CD4 cell count; and WHEREAS, we appreciate the dedicated work of medical, philanthropic, faith-based, and community organizations who work to increase support and access to medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones, and who further work to educate and raise awareness for all Alaskans of the risks of HIV in their communities; and WHEREAS, Alaskans can work together to support programs that reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV infection, and increase education, screening, and prevention efforts; and WHEREAS, World AIDS Day was established on December 1, 1988, to increase awareness and improve education about HIV/AIDS, fight stigma, and solemnly remember those who have died. NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim December 1, 2020 as: HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to take responsibility for their own health and well-being by increasing their awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS, participate in prevention activities and efforts, and offer compassion and support to those who are affected and their loved ones.