Leon DOH and Neighborhood Medical Center Host Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Event

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — February 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The designation began in 1999 to help end HIV-related stigma and increase HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

The Leon County Department of Health and Neighborhood Medical Center partnered with community organizations and nonprofits to raise awareness during a drive-in event Thursday afternoon.

Participants included Bond Neighborhood Medical Center, Sickle Cell Foundation, Big Bend Cares, Well Care, Maternal and Paternal Services, FAMU Tune-Up Program, and Second Harvest.

Participants were able to get free HIV and sickle cell testing and education, as well as food donations from Second Harvest.

“The overall goal is to get to zero, which means no new HIV infections,” explained Joseph Ward, health educator at Neighborhood Medical Center. “So if people have the information and have the resources, we can also inspire them to do their best to help reduce the number of HIV cases in the state of Florida.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, Black/African Americans made up 13% of the US population, but 42% (16,002) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses.

In Leon County, 69% of all people diagnosed with HIV in 2020 identified as African American or Black.

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