Red scarves to raise awareness of HIV / AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka

As World AIDS Day approaches, knitters in Simcoe-Muskoka have been hard at work knitting red scarves to raise awareness.

The effort is coordinated by the Gilbert Center, a nonprofit organization that supports people in the LGBTQ + community and people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Red scarves that reflect the red HIV awareness ribbons are knitted by volunteers and hung from street lights, along with educational information, available to everyone.

According to the center, nearly 70,000 Canadians are living with HIV. Kellie Leeder, women’s health coordinator for the center, says the most important message is that HIV is now highly treatable.

“Stigma can be very high in the community, so ‘U equals U’ is the message, that there is no way [of transmission] if they stick to their medications and take them regularly, ”says Leeder. “They can become undetectable, which means non-transferable, which means U is equal to U.”

Leeder says anyone who suspects they are HIV-positive can order a free test kit from the Gilbert’s Center website, which also provides other support services.

She says volunteers from several organizations have already created a few hundred scarves for the effort.

“Depending on your knitting or crochet skills, someone might knit a scarf overnight, someone might knit a scarf in a few days, it all depends on how fast you want to knit and how much time you want to spend on it. said Leeder. “I just want to say thank you to all of our knitters.”

Barrie City Hall will be holding a noon flag raising on November 23 with scarves hanging downtown the same day. Scarves will be hung in Gravenhurst on November 30 and Bracebridge on December 1, with Bracebridge Falls illuminated in red.

According to Leeder, scarves will also be donated to various homeless shelters and food banks across Simcoe Muskoka.

For more information, contact Le Center Gilbert or go to: https://gilbertcentre.ca


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