National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Celebration - Wilson, NC
According to the 2017 North Carolina HIV/STD/Hepatitis Surveillance annual report, Wilson ranked 19th for new HIV diagnoses out of 100 counties. Due to this rate and the high stigma which is associated with HIV in that area, we here Breaking HIV Stigma along with Kimberly M. Knight of “Red is the New Black” decided to host the first major HIV Awareness event for Wilson, NC. The event which was held this past Saturday, February 2, 2019, at Sallie B. Howard School of The Arts and Education, was officially proclaimed as “National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - Wilson, NC” by C.Bruce Rose, Major of Wilson, NC in celebration of “National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day which is nationally recognized on February 7.
With about 20 community members present and eight vendor tables we were able to bring awareness about HIV testing, prevention and treatment. OIC of Wilson, was present at the event and provided free and confidential testing to about 5 of the attendees. This means that about 20% of the attendees were tested and now know their status. Other vendors present, were OIC of Rocky Mount, The Wilson County Health Department, Ritamae Carrington with Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Group, Shakayla Wilkins with Paparazzi Jewelry, Essence Events and Digital LinCS.
The Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Allison Mathews, founder of Digital LinCS and 2BeatHIV. Dr. Mathews connected with the attendees by opening up and speaking of some of her own personal experiences with relationships. Dr. Mathews also, explain how the HIV virus replicates and about HIV cure research by doing an interactive demonstration with the attendees. Dr. Mathews also stressed the importance to getting tested for HIV.
Over all the event was a huge success. We were able to make an impact on the City of Wilson, NC as well as connected with community partners on plans for future events in Eastern North Carolina. So stay tune for information on our next event!