Indiana: Fundraiser Puts Teens With AIDS Into Focus
May 4, 2007
At the 11th annual Northeast Indiana AIDS Walk and Festival on Saturday in Fort Wayne, the photo exhibit "Facing HIV/AIDS" will include, for the first time, a teenager's face. Sue Nation, walk coordinator with the Northeast Indiana AIDS Task Force, fears that more teen faces might be seen in future exhibits.
"In Allen County, one out of six people testing positive for HIV is a teen," Nation said. "The national average is one out of four. It is rampant."
The festival, held this year in May instead of September, is the task force's biggest fundraiser. Since 1997, the event has raised more than $500,000; this year's goal is $44,000.
In 2005, more than 11,000 state residents had HIV/AIDS, according to the Indiana Department of Health. Since 1982, more than 4,000 have died from AIDS-related complications.
Nation said Allen County has more than 300 HIV-positive residents, many of them women and teens. A majority of the women with HIV are black. Nation said black women fight social and cultural stigma if they admit their diagnosis. "If they come forward, they lose the support of their church," she explained.
Jeff Lane, who was diagnosed with HIV 17 years ago, is the task force's Allen County outreach coordinator and the festival's honorary chairperson. His focus is HIV/AIDS education for the community, ensuring that teen and blacks receive correct information on how to fight the disease. "African Americans are 12-13 percent of the total [Allen County] population, but they account for one-half of all new HIV-positive cases," Lane said.
The 11th annual AIDS Walk and Festival takes place 10. a.m.?1:45 p.m. Saturday at Headwaters Park East. For information, telephone 260-744-1144, visit www.aidsfortwayne.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne)
05.03.2007; K.O. Jackson
Health Service Utilization for People With HIV Infection: Comparison of a Population Targeted for Outreach With the U.S. Population in Care