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U.S. News

Virginia: Time to Turn Light Back on HIV/AIDS

November 12, 2010

"Lest we forget, AIDS is still with us.

"If anyone at Richmond CenterStage needed a reminder, the point was driven home during a Wednesday night screening of The Other City.

"This documentary, produced by Middleburg businesswoman and philanthropist Sheila Johnson, gets up close and personal with the AIDS epidemic in Washington, where 3 percent of residents suffer from HIV or AIDS, a disease rate that rivals some countries in AIDS-ravaged Africa. ...

"[CDC] classifies Virginia as a medium-morbidity state for HIV and AIDS. But alarmingly, 36 percent of new HIV diagnoses last year were among people 13 to 29 years old. In Richmond last year, that figure was 41 percent.

"Ignorance should be no excuse for this group, who came of age after the AIDS crisis unfolded in the 1980s. Something has lulled them into a false sense of security. Perhaps they view HIV as a relic of the 1980s, like disco music and leg warmers. ...

"Johnson described her audience at CenterStage, which included [Virginia] first lady Maureen McDonnell, as 'people who can really make a difference and ignite the dialogue.' ...

"This week's screening benefited the Fan Free Clinic, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. [Clinic Executive Director Karen A.] Legato said more than 2,000 uninsured patients a year receive primary care in its medical clinic. It reached more than 6,200 people through its education programs and tested more than 2,200 people for HIV. ...

"The assembled retained a sense of hope.

"'Sixty years ago, nobody thought polio could be eliminated,' [Virginia Health Commissioner Karen] Remley said.

"But conquering HIV/AIDS will take our undivided attention. No deadly adversary should be allowed to fly under the radar."

[PNU editor's note: Showtime will air The Other City on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.]

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from:
Richmond Times-Dispatch

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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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