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HIV awareness involves both young and old

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“It’s Your Turn to Prevent HIV/AIDS: Individual Call to Action,” was the theme of the 10th Annual Statewide HIV Awareness Program that recently took place. 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,” said Andrea Perez, director of the Division of HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis at the Indiana State Department of Health. “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. 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 addressed HIV/AIDS in adults age 50 and older. Defying the myth that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual or young person’s disease, the revealing documentary depicts the devastating impact of this epidemic on the heterosexual, older adult population and communities of color.

The screenings are hosted by Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Indiana University Northwest School of Social Work.

Visit indyhivtest.com to learn more about HIV and find testing locations in Indianapolis. The website is a collaborative effort from the Indiana State Department of Health and the Marion County Public Health Department. Statewide testing locations can be found at HIVtest.cdc.gov.

For more information about HIV/AIDS, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at StateHealth.IN.gov.

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