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November 13, 2013

Officials raise awareness for HIV this month

INDIANAPOLIS —“It’s Your Turn to Prevent HIV/AIDS: Individual Call to Action,” was the theme of the 10th annual Statewide HIV Awareness Program that took place Nov. 7.

More than 700 individuals, mostly high school students, attended the event that focused on HIV prevention and early intervention.

“For 10 years, this event has been promoting HIV awareness around Indiana,” Andrea Perez, director of the Division of HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis at the Indiana State Department of Health, said in a press release. “Every person we reach with the message of prevention is a success.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every nine-and-a-half minutes, another person becomes infected with HIV in the United States.

More than 10,000 Hoosiers are currently living with HIV/AIDS, a pandemic that has taken the lives of almost 6,000 Hoosiers since 1981.

The event was held at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School in Indianapolis. Performances by Asante Children’s Theatre, Young Actors Theatre, and Poet Kelechukwu Brnfre were well received by the crowd. Students from Warren Central High School, Herron High School, Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, and Elkhart Community Schools gave presentations about what they are doing at their individual schools to promote HIV awareness.

The event is sponsored through the collaborative effort of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, and other community organizations.

This year, the efforts of the Statewide Awareness Campaign extended beyond students to explore HIV/AIDS in the older adult population. Two separate screenings of the film “Even Me” took place in Indianapolis and in Gary. The film addresses HIV/AIDS in adults age 50 and older. Defying the myth that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual or young person’s disease, the documentary depicts the impact of this epidemic on the heterosexual, older adult population, and communities of color.

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