Communities, Survivors Unite For World AIDS Day

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For the last 25 years, people across the world have joined together on Dec. 1 to combat HIV and AIDS. Communities across the state come together for World AIDS Day to reflect on a very serious pandemic impacting our society.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates close to 34 million people across the globe have HIV.

Told by her doctor that she was going to die, a River Valley woman said she's lucky to be alive.

"For some reason, God saved my life," Kari Farmer said. "For some reason, I'm alive. I was told two years ago [by a doctor] that I was going to die, that I should prepare my funeral. And here it is - two years."

Farmer now deals with HIV every single day.

"It began in September of 2010," Farmer recalled. "I started getting sick. I was diagnosed in November of 2010. But I was diagnosed with AIDS. And I got the help, and I got the medication and now I'm good."

Farmer's passion is helping other and raising awareness. She's also working to remove the stigma behind the disease.

"A lot of people still think it's a gay disease," Farmer said. "And its not. I'm a heterosexual woman. And I'm a mother. And a girl scout leader. And I live a normal life. It can happen to anybody."

AR Hope, Inc.  hosted two candlelight vigils Saturday night in honor of the event. The hope behind World AIDS Day is to remind the public that HIV is still a serious disease as well as to show support for those across the globe who are affected and commemorate those who have died.