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Stopping the stigma, raising awareness: group plans World AIDS Day event

November 28, 2012

Today there are approximately 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and an estimated 18 percent of those living with HIV are undiagnosed. World AIDS Day is an effort to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, provide information for people about how to protect themselves and others from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and to reduce the stigma present for those living with HIV/AIDS.

The Beloit Public Health Initiative—a Beloit College student volunteer organization—is joining with nonprofit organization Community Action and Camp Heartland, a program that supports families affected with HIV, for a free community event in recognition of World AIDS Day on Monday (Dec. 3).

Attendees will see an exhibit of HIV/AIDS posters from around the world, meet local agencies and individuals engaged in the ongoing fight against the spread of this disease, and hear from speakers from Camp Heartland.

The partnering organizations behind this event point to a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in this area to explain their engagement around this day and this disease.

“Sexually transmitted diseases are a serious problem in the Beloit community, however they are not discussed,” says Liz Chiquoine, coordinator for BPHI. “People with STIs are two to five times more likely to contract HIV than those without an STI. We need to begin talking about this problem before this problem gets out of hand.”

The event will be held in the Beloit College Science Center Atrium Monday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. From 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., there will be food and opportunities to learn more about STI and HIV prevention in our community, and to view an exhibit of HIV/AIDS posters from around the world. The speakers will begin at 7:30 p.m., and there will be a raffle of prizes from local businesses and prizes for the first 100 people to arrive.

This event is sponsored by Community Action Inc., Stateline Community Foundation, and Beloit College.