Stemming the Tide of Infection: Louisiana Event Raises Awareness About HIV/AIDS Prevention
May 4, 2011
More than 300 people took part in the recent National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Red Tent Event at New Orleans' McKenna Museum of African-American Art. This was the second year for the gathering, which was introduced by the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies (IWES) in response to the area's high rate of new HIV infections, especially among women and African Americans.
Attendees took advantage of a wide range of wellness-related offerings. One booth presented demonstrations on how to use condoms. Planned Parenthood provided information about its services to prevent STDs, while Common Ground Community Health Clinic distributed brochures about local health care resources. So many people took advantage of the offer of free HIV screening that the supply of tests actually ran out, said Jennifer Glick, IWES HIV program manager.
The Red Tent events grew from the need to help people cope with the stress and trauma that followed Hurricane Katrina. "So when National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day came around, it just made a lot of sense to use that ... as a way to raise awareness about how HIV and AIDS are affecting the community," Glick said.
Noting that health is not "just the absence of disease, but really the complete mental, physical, emotional health and wellness of a community," Executive Director Rheneisha Robertson said IWES works with women and families to promote healthy life choices. Beyond its HIV/AIDS efforts, IWES also conducts sexual and reproductive health advocacy, and it promotes mental health and well-being.
"Especially considering the HIV/AIDS rate in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Louisiana, I think it's needed," said Jennifer Williams, the museum's curator. "I think we should have more events like this."
For more information about IWES, visit http://iwesnola.point2pointdesign.com/.
04.11.2011; Zoe Sullivan
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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