DOH-Leon Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said it’s important to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS risks. (Photo: Michael Schwarz Michael Schwarz/Special to the D)
The Florida Department of Health in Leon County and the Tallahassee Chapter of The Links, Incorporated are joining forces on two local events to mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, recognized nationally on Feb. 7.
On Friday, Feb. 8, the “Hands Up! Dance Showcase” will energize the audience with a range of on-stage dance acts and hip-shaking music. The showcase will take center stage at FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium, 1601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; showcase starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, Precshard Williams will present on his experience as an engagement specialist with the Zero Pinellas Outreach project. The event will run 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Delta Kappa Omega’s Providence Community Service Center, 1908 Highland Street. Admission is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
Confidential HIV testing will be offered at both events at no cost.
For more information on either of these events, please call 850-404-6219.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses among racial and ethnic groups nationwide in 2017 occurred among blacks,” DOH-Leon Health Officer Claudia Blackburn said. “We see similar data here in Leon County, which makes it even more important to raise awareness within the black community on getting tested, taking precautions if you’re HIV-negative and getting into treatment if you are HIV-positive.”
Several years ago, The Links, Incorporated, an international not-for-profit organization comprised of over 15,000 professional women of color in 288 chapters, recognized the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on the African American community.
Consequently, the organization approved a National HIV/AIDS Initiative designed to educate, inform and impact the communities served by local chapters and encouraged chapters to collaborate with other organizations. The Tallahassee Chapter received a grant to support this initiative and is delighted to partner with DOH-Leon in addressing this very important public health issue.