“Action speaks louder than words; today we have declared that our community is greater than AIDS.” – Tina Gossett, Highland Rivers CSB, Dalton
A Campaign of the HIV Early Intervention Services Program
According to the CDC, among the 50 states, Georgia is ranked 6th highest for cumulative AIDS cases. Here, as well as nationwide, 1 of every 5 people who are HIV-positive do not know that they are infected, and the people served by our providers are among those at greatest risk.
During the last week of June, a group of Georgia Community Service Boards (CSBs) produced Healing Stigma events in 6 cities across the state: Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Decatur, Macon, and Savannah.
The theme refers to the fact that the stigma surrounding HIV is so severe that it fuels the epidemic. By breaking the silence around a subject that for many remains taboo, the campaign provided an opportunity for people in each community to participate in healing the stigma around HIV and AIDS.
Campaign Draws 1,400 People Statewide – – Made possible by funds from DBHDD, the statewide HIV testing and awareness campaign was timed to take advantage of the media attention around National HIV Testing Day (June 27). While each was unique, overall the events appealed to both children and adults, attracting more than 1,400 people statewide.
We are passionate in our commitment to halting the spread of HIV. Designed to empower communities and individuals at greatest risk, this campaign engaged more than 1,400 Georgians in healing the stigma that fuels the HIV/AIDS epidemic. – Von Wrighten, Division of Addictive Diseases
HIV / EIS Workers Test 454 Georgians – – Eight CSBs took on leadership roles: Avita, DeKalb, Highland Rivers, New Horizons, Phoenix, Recovery Place, River Edge, and Serenity. Altogether, 31 HIV / EIS nurses and counselors representing 15 agencies participated – testing a total of 454 individuals.
Volunteers & VIPs Out in Force – – Community support ranged from mayoral proclamations to volunteers who prepared and served food throughout the day.
Health Fairs Focused on “Whole Health” – – Each of the 6 events included a health fair – offering guests an array of services including free blood sugar and blood pressure testing.