FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New free and confidential HIV testing available
NWA Center for Equality launches HIV testing and prevention effort on World AIDS Day
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark (November 23, 2010) – The NWA Center for Equality is excited to announce the launch of their new HIV/AIDS program designed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS on December 1st, World AIDS Day. The new program, NWA HIV/AIDS Outreach and Prevention Education (NWA HOPE), will provide free HIV testing in Fayetteville by appointment from 9am until 6pm on December 1st and have a candle light vigil at 6:30pm at Rogue Pizza at 402 West Dickson Street in Fayetteville, AR.
“A program like this has been a long term goal of our Center and is the culmination of the continued passion of so many of our members. Free, confidential testing in a supportive atmosphere is a need in the NWA area” said Raymond Sweet, president of the NWA Center for Equality. According to Sweet, NWA HOPE will continue to offer free HIV testing by appointment on Mondays, and HIV/AIDS prevention education to the NWA community as the program matures. Starting in March 2011 HIV/AIDS instructors will be available to speak throughout the NWA region.
Program Coordinator Arlis Young reiterated that HIV/AIDS is still an important health issue in both the gay and straight population. “HIV/AIDS is a real thing in Arkansas, and new diagnosed infections are pretty equally split among gay and straight populations nationwide. New cases of diagnosed HIV in 2008 were 261 in Arkansas. Knowing your status is an important part of prevention bringing that number down.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. The NWA Center for Equality invites the community to participate through testing and by attending the vigil. Currently NWA HOPE is funded solely by donations to the Center and community support is crucial. Donations of money to fund the program and basic necessities pfor distribution to local people living with HIV/AIDS are being accepted either at the vigil or at the Center. Provide non-perishable food items to be distributed by Positive Links, an long standing HIV/Aids Support program. By working together we can reach more people who are in need.
For appointments for testing or giving supplies, or for more questions contact Arlis Young at (479) 462-4681 or [email protected]