‘Join the Fight’ to mark World AIDS Day
Join the Fight, a local effort to mark World AIDS Day, will be held this Saturday in Fort Myers.
The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is partnering with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Source of Light and Hope McGregor Clinic to hold the event set from noon to 5 p.m. at Roberto Clemente Park.
Regional HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator Harry Marius said the Department of Health-Lee collaborates with community partners to remember the lives that have been lost in the fight against HIV and to celebrate those who continue to fight the disease.
“Celebration of World AIDS Day is an important community event because it joins community partners and citizens in the fight against HIV/AIDS by providing an opportunity to spark dialogue towards stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS among all populations,” he said. “It also aids in the effort to eradicate HIV stigmas and blame.”
The day of activities will include a slew of free health screenings – vision screenings; flu shots; HIV/STD testing; blood pressure and cholesterol and A1c checks. There also will be raffle prizes, such as NFL/MLB merchandise and tickets; Busch Gardens tickets; a bicycle and Thanksgiving baskets.
Other activities will include kids crafts; community vendors; chair massages; bounce house and a basketball competition.
There will also be such a number of food trucks on site including Breaking Bread, The Frozen Chosen, The Folkswagon and Firebread.
“The goal of the DOH-Lee is educate the public that a HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. HIV has become a chronic illness that can be managed by effective treatment,” Marius said. “This treatment is available to all HIV positive individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Increasing awareness through community events and harnessing partnerships has been evidence to reduction of new diagnosis and increasing linkage services to residents in Southwest Florida.”
On Dec. 1 of every year around the world, World AIDS Day is marked. This year the national theme is “Communities Make the Difference.”
World AIDS Day started in 1988 as the first-ever global health day.
“From the inception of the virus to today’s date we have made significant medical improvement,” Marius said. “The stigma, however, continues to be a roadblock in linkage to care and adherence.”
Roberto Clemente Park is at 3265 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.