ALEXANDRIA, La. (CLASS) - The Central Louisiana AIDS Support Services, Inc will commemorate the first Annual Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on August 20, launched by the Southern AIDS Coalition.
The coalition is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and business leaders working alongside thousands of people living with HIV and their allies to end the HIV epidemic in the South.
Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a day set aside for individuals all over the nation to join a movement to raise awareness, erase HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, and to advocate for new and necessary resources and solutions to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in the South.
Centers for Disease Control Prevention states that more than 511,400 people are living with HIV in the South. People living with HIV in the South are faced with stigma and discrimination that often results in lack of access to high-quality health care and essential support services. This reality requires everyone as a nation to collectively develop solutions to reduce these disparities and combat this HIV/AIDS epidemic occurring in the South.
“The South bears the burden of a disproportionate number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The South has 52% of the undiagnosed HIV infections in the United States; while 44% of those living with the virus were diagnosed in the South. While we are all equally human, we are not all treated equally. Once we recognize that we, as humans, should receive accurate education about sexual health, have opportunities to access the full range of prevention interventions available, engage in routine HIV screening, make widely available a number of evidence-based harm reduction services, and live free from stigma and discrimination, we will have an opportunity to effectively end HIV in our community,” dreams Ann Lowrey, CLASS Executive Director.
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