CHICAGO (CBS) – Today is World AIDS Day, a time to promote understanding of HIV/AIDS, and the medical, social and political challenges of the disease.

The theme for World AIDS Day in Chicago this year is “get REAL, get CARE.” The events for World AIDS Day in Chicago are focused on ending the AIDS epidemic, with hopes of improving people’s reaction to HIV and AIDS by preventing new infections, and encouraging communication to make sure people living with HIV will get the care they need.

As they have in past years, the Illinois State Lottery and Department of Public Health will unveil a new quality of life scratch-off ticket for World AIDS Day, called “Red Ribbon Bonus Bucks.” All proceeds will fund HIV-AIDS prevention, education and awareness.

The new Lottery ticket will be unveiled at the Hoover Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.

Several other events are planned across the city for World AIDS Day:

• Chicago State University is holding a health expo and panel discussion on HIV and AIDS, featuring a musical performance by hip-hop violinist Lee England Jr. The events run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Chicago State Student Union Building, 9501 S. King Dr.

• The Chicago Theological Seminary is hosting a day of activities and ecumenical religious worship for World AIDS Day, organized by Metropolitan Community Churches. The seminary is located at 5757 S. University Ave. just off the University of Chicago campus. The services will be held in the Graham Taylor Chapel at noon at 7 p.m.

• AIDS testing will be held and dinner will be served from 1 to 6 p.m. at Taskforce Prevention *& Community Services, 9 N. Cicero Ave.

• The New Covenant Baptist Church, 754 E. 77th St., will host a World AIDS Day Gospel Concert at 7 p.m. Free HIV testing is available at the church starting at 6 p.m.

• A World AIDS Day prayer service will be held starting at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Parish, 1107 N. Orleans St.

• There will be altars from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and a candlelight vigil community walk for AIDS awareness from 5 to 5:30 p.m. at La Casita de Don Pedro Albizu Campos, 2625 W. Division St. The walk steps off from Division Street and Western Avenue a short distance away.

• Clemente High School, 1147 N. Western Ave., will host a screening of the documentary “I’m a Queen” at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception and dinner at 7 p.m.

• The New Birth Christian Center, 5335 W. LeMoyne St., hosts an HIV awareness and testing day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The center also hosts a family action planning dinner and training session at 6 p.m.

• From 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago holds its “World of Chocolate” fundraiser at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave. The event features chocolate creations by the city’s finest chefs and chocolatiers, as well as a buffet, an open bar, and live entertainment.

• The Indiana Minority Health Coalition is holding a community discussion on HIV prevention and issues faced by men who have sex with men. The discussion will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fiesta Palace, 6220 N. Broadway in Merrillville, Ind. They ask that you RSVP by calling Cena Bain at (317) 233-7483.

• “Behind the Red Curtains” is a performance event featuring HIV monologues and singing. Rush University Medical Center is sponsoring the event, which will be held at Room 43, 1041 E. 43rd St. A networking reception begins at 6 p.m., and program starts at 7 p.m.

• The Regal Theater, 1645 E. 79th St., hosts an evening with Mo’Nique at 7 p.m., preceded by a World AIDS Daay reception sponsored by Walgreens in the lobby at 5:30 p.m.

• The groups TransActions and H.E.R.O (Helping to Educate Regarding Orientation) are hosting a Post-World AIDS Day Town Hall meeting at 6 p.m. at the Haymarket Center, 932 W. Washington Blvd.

• The AIDS advocacy group Vital Bridges hosts a preview of “Sings of Sustainability,” a gallery art show by Claudia Smalley and Magda Smoleknksa, for World AIDS Day. Wine and snacks will be provided. All donations go to Vital Bridges.

• Author Justin Spring is signing copies of his biography, Secret Historian, to commemorate World AIDS Day at the Borders bookstore at 2817 N. Clark St.

• Joliet Junior College hosts its second annual World AIDS Day Drag Show at its main campus cafeteria, at 1215 Houboldt Rd. in Joliet. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

• Excalibur nightclub, 632 N. Dearborn St., hosts the “Strut” reception and fashion show for World AIDS Day. The reception starts at 4 p.m., the fashion show at 5:30 p.m.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to ths report.