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New Provincetown center opens on World AIDS Day

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Last year 650,000 people died of AIDS and 1.5 million acquired HIV, according to the United Nations.

PROVINCETOWN—The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod marks World AIDS Day and the agency's 40th year with the opening of an expanded drop-in treatment center on Commercial Street.

The new facility allows for more HIV testing and treatment, and can accommodate large community readings and events, president and CEO Dan Gates told CAI.

The AIDS Support Group’s other services include housing and food assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. Gay and bisexual men account for 66% of new infections each year, with Black and Latino men among the most affected, according to the CDC.

Town nurse Alice Foley founded the Provincetown AIDS Support Group in 1986 as a safe space for people who had nowhere to turn.

"What a lot of people forget about the early days of the AIDS epidemic is that it outed thousands of people," Gates said. "There were a lot of gay people who were living quiet lives, but suddenly they got sick. And so they were outed by their health status."

The Biden administration on Thursday released its strategy to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030.

The new AIDS Support Group space replaces a facility that opened on the other end of Commercial Street on World AIDS Day in 2017.

"Our belief was that it was partially our responsibility to destigmatize accessing sexual health services," Gates said. "Our tagline at the time was we were bringing sexual health out of the closet and onto the street."

A grand opening is scheduled at 4 p.m., 301 Commercial St. A candlelight vigil will follow.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.