Ohio: Akron AIDS Collaborative Stresses Prevention, Detection of HIV, AIDS
August 13, 2010
Activists looking back at the 15-year history of the Akron AIDS Collaborative (AAC) see a microcosm of the HIV epidemic.
The AIDS service organization came into being as the Akron Brother Circle to reach out to African-American men. As HIV became more prevalent among women and youth, the organization shifted focus and took the name it has today.
Services as well have evolved to serve the community.
"We are the only African-American-based organization that provides HIV testing, as the kids would say, in the hood,'" said Executive Director Steve Arrington. "I tell our staff, you have to test people where they are."
At its headquarters inside the Ujima Empowerment House, AAC performs both rapid-result and conventional HIV testing. AAC offers HIV support groups and additional services, and it refers HIV-positive clients to other area organizations for assistance it cannot provide directly.
AAC also offers an array of social services targeted to the African-American community. During the summer, it provides a boxed lunch for children ages 5-9. Along with Akron Urban League employees, AAC organizes games for the children, along with lessons in healthy living.
Under the original Akron Brother Circle banner, AAC continues to host a free community dinner every Wednesday. There, several dozen people typically take advantage of health care information and testing for HIV and other STDs offered in partnership with Planned Parenthood.
A fundraiser Aug. 29 will include a carnival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a masquerade party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. aimed at gay African-American youths.
For more information about AAC, telephone 330-794-7924.
West Side Leader (Akron)
08.12.2010; Kathleen Folkerth
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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