Thursday, November 19

World AIDS Day: “Dream Big! End it.”

Event flyers

Baton Rouge, La. – On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2015, the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center in collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, will harness the power of social change.  Youth in St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes will be encouraged to, “Dream big! End it,” through the arts.  Ending the AIDS epidemic is possible, but only by educating our youth and connecting them with people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. 

World AIDS Day activities will kick-off at the St. Helena College & Career Academy, at 9:00 a.m., as Gifted & Talented Art students, Shy’Janae Hookfin and Javier Smith, unveil the “Dream big! End it,” social change mural.  Immediately following the unveiling ceremony, students at Kentwood High Magnet School will gather during their regular lunch shift for a ‘Poetry Slam.’  Youth participants will use word play to encourage their peers to Dream big, and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

“Dream big! End it,” means empowering youth in Louisiana, to take a stand for people who may not necessarily be able to stand for themselves.  It encourages the students to be a voice of reason when their peers are being pressured into compromising situations. It also opens the door for dialogue with key decision makers in congress when youth dream big to end this crippling epidemic.

Dreaming big to end it, means:
·         Reducing the large percentage of new HIV and syphilis diagnoses in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana HIV, AIDS and Early Syphilis Surveillance Quarterly Report released on June 30, 2015, 25% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2014 occurred among persons 13-24 years old. The report also stated that in the first half of 2015, 44% of all early syphilis diagnoses occurred among persons 13-24 years old.
·         All 395 people living in both St. Helena and Tangipahoa Parishes with HIV will have access to life-saving medicine.*
·         The 19 million people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status can begin to get support.
·         Access to medicines for all children living with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana.
·         All people can be included as part of the solution.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Nicolette Gordon, (Assistant Area Agent – Youth Development), in the Tangipahoa Parish Extension Office at 985.748.9381, or in the St. Helena Parish Extension Office at 225.222.4136.

*Information in this press release was obtained from the Louisiana HIV, AIDS and Early Syphilis Surveillance 2015 2nd Quarterly Report and “The Gap Report,” published by UNAIDS.

 (Article written by Nicolette Gordon, Assistant Area Agent at the SU Ag Center.)

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