PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. It has been nationally recognized since 1988.

Multiple organizations in Central Illinois joined together to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS. For at least five years, Friends of Central Illinois and the Peoria Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc have teamed up to bring awareness.

This year they hosted an event at the George Washington Carver Community Center. Joshua Morgan of Peoria Heights shared his story with the audience.

Morgan was diagnosed with HIV two and a half years ago. He encourages people to educate themselves to stop the stigma against HIV and AIDS.

“It has gotten so much more acceptable and acknowledged. There’s so much more knowledge and tools nowadays but the stigma really hasn’t changed much,” Morgan said. “I am ecstatic that it is the way it is now but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

The latest CDC data from 2020 shows that 35,944 people in Illinois are living with HIV. Friends of Central Illinois offers free confidential STI testing.