World AIDS Day events will be observed throughout South Carolina on Dec. 1.
Free or low-cost rapid tests for HIV will be offered in many of DHEC's county public health departments and community agencies. Groups also are planning events and candlelight vigils to raise awareness about HIV issues and to remember those who have died from AIDS.
In South Carolina, 14,000 people are known to be living with HIV/AIDS, and health officials estimate one new HIV infection occurs in the state every nine hours.
"Most people in the early stages of HIV infection have no symptoms," said Dr. Wayne Duffus, medical director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's STD/HIV Division. "Early diagnosis can link people to services that will help them stay healthy longer, benefit most from treatment, reduce costly hospital visits, and help prevent transmission to others."
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Information about World AIDS Day events: (800) 322-2437.
TAKE A LONG RUN IN THE WOODS
There's a new event for really healthy folks in the Midlands - a half marathon trail run at Harbison State Forest.
Called Rudolph's Rampage, the event is scheduled for Dec. 5. Runners will do two laps of a course that covers portions of the Firebreak, Stewardship and Midlands Mountain trails. That means lots of quick dips and some extended climbs and downhills.
For mountain bike enthusiasts (or gluttons who want to push themselves to the limit on foot and on a bike), the Race to the River 50-mile mountain bike race follows on Dec. 6 at Harbison.
Information/entry forms: cyclecenter.com.
WANT TO RUN FARTHER?
If half a marathon isn't enough to quench your thirst for running, consider gathering some friends and signing up for another new event in South Carolina - the Palmetto 200.
It's a 200-mile relay race from Congaree National Park to Folly Beach. The inaugural Palmetto 200 is scheduled for April 30-May 1. Each 12-person team covers 36 relay legs from the swamp to the ocean.
LEARN ABOUT GERMS
EdVenture Children's Museum is conducting a series of free programs teaching parents and children how to stay healthy during the flu season and prevent spread of the disease.
Kathie Williams, EdVenture's health education manager, will teach the "Germs, Germs, Germs" programs at Richland County library branches.
The program will be offered:
Today: 11 a.m., North Main Branch Library, 5306 North Main St., Columbia
Wednesday: 10:30 a.m., Cooper Branch Library, 5317 North Trenholm Road, Columbia.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m., St. Andrews Regional Branch Library, 2916 Broad River Road, Columbia.
Nov. 28: 11 a.m., Southeast Regional Branch Library, 7421 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia.
Dec. 5: 11 a.m., Northeast Regional Branch Library, 7490 Parklane Road, Columbia.
Dec. 12: 11 a.m., Sandhills Branch Library, 1 Summit Parkway, Columbia.
HOLIDAY VOLUNTEER POSSIBILITY
If you have musical talent and are looking for a way to give back to the community during the holiday season, consider spending a couple of hours playing holiday songs at Palmetto Health Cancer Center.
The center is looking for volunteers to play shifts of one or two hours Dec. 1-25. Small musical combos or choral groups are welcome, and a piano is available. To volunteer, call (803) 434-2659.
((((EVERYTHING FROM HERE DOWN HAS RUN AT LEAST ONCE))))
BLOOD AND FOOTBALL
The always heated South Carolina-Clemson football rivalry can be turned into a positive, sort of like converting steam into energy.
That's the impetus for the annual South Carolina-Clemson blood drive. This year, the drive will be held through Nov. 20 on the two campuses
All students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans are encouraged to give blood to help stock the supply for the American Red Cross.
In Columbia, blood donations can be made at Russell House Ballroom 10 a.m.-7 p.m. today through Friday, a blood mobile on Greene Street 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. today through Friday, a blood mobile in front of the Moore School of Business 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, or a blood mobile in front of the Colonial Life Arena 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday.
All blood donors at USC will get a commemorative long-sleeve T-shirt. The blood drive trophy will be awarded at the game on Nov. 28 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
In the previous 24 years, the drive has collected more than 80,000 units of blood. USC won last year with 4,309 donors, compared to 3,351 for Clemson.
If you don't want to give blood, how about a kidney? The rivalry also is the basis for the Donate Life Duel through Nov. 23.
Supporters can help their schools win by signing up organ/tissue donors on the new South Carolina Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at Every11Minutes.org.
The Palmetto Holiday Showcase offers a chance to buy decorated Christmas trees or holiday decorations while raising money to help South Carolinians with HIV and AIDS.
The showcase is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the State Museum. Trees and decorations will be available in a silent auction.
The event also features entertainment for the entire family on Saturday and a gala on Saturday night. Proceeds go to AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina.
Tickets for the gala are $75 per person or $140 for a couple and can be purchased at palmettoholidayshowcase.com
SLEIGH BELL TROT
Within just a few years, the Sleigh Bell Trot has become a holiday tradition for many folks in the Midlands. Hundreds of runners will gather Nov. 24 at Saluda Shoals Park to run 3.1 miles along the paved trails and roads in the park.
If you're not up to the run, you can enjoy the shorter walk. And it all takes place at night amid the sparkly displays of Holiday Lights on the River.
The entry fee is $30 on the day of the event for the run or $5 for the walk. Kids 6 and younger can walk for free.
Register: icrc.net or strictlyrunning.com.
SENIOR CARE TIPS
People taking care of senior family members can get professional tips without leaving home - by going online to listen to the a Web conference.
"The Best Care for Your Parents: Senior Care Solutions and Potential Pitfalls" is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday. The free presentation is part of National Family Caregivers Month.
The web conference will be co-hosted by Suzanne Mintz, president of the National Family Caregivers Association, and Paul Hogan, co-founder of Home Instead Senior Care. Register: caregiverstress.com
WELLNESS FOR FREE
Want to burn off a few calories before the Thanksgiving foodfest? Head to the Drew Wellness Center for its Free Community Wellness Weekend Saturday and Sunday.
You can use the facility's indoor pool, basketball court and cardio and weight equipment for free 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday.
There also will be cooking classes and a health fair 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 21 at the wellness center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way, just off Harden Street, in Columbia. Information: (803) 545-3200
- Free to Breathe 5K Run and Walk is set for 10 a.m. Saturday on the West Columbia Riverwalk.
Sponsored by the National Lung Cancer Partnership, the event is designed to raise funds for cancer research. Registration is $15 to $20. Information: freetobreathe.org or call (803) 920-6913