This year the AIDS Task Force of Northeast Indiana is trying something a little bit different to recognize World AIDS Day. It is planning several days of events Monday-Dec. 5.
Lisa Terry, executive director of the ATF, said the agency wants to reach as many people in the community as it can. By having different events on multiple days in various locations around town, the ATF believes it can both raise more awareness and educate more people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
Terry said a whole generation of younger people exists now who are not worried about the disease and not practicing safe sex. They believe it is not the death sentence it used to be. However, while it's true medications are out there to help people live longer, healthier lives with the disease, to contract it is still a life sentence. HIV/AIDS has no cure.
Terry said a new phenomenon they are seeing now is finding the disease in nursing homes. Apparently more seniors are having sexual encounters. It's not unusual for a single man in a nursing home to have more than one partner. If they are not practicing safe sex, this can lead to the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and even HIV.
In Fort Wayne most of the new cases of HIV are from men on men encounters but the number of African American women being infected with the virus is also on the rise.
The ATF has clients as young as 18 and as old as 72. Sixty-four percent of new HIV diagnosis clients at the Task Force are under 30. Since the ATF opened 368 clients have died.
Starting Nov. 26 and running through Wednesday Dec. 5, there will be an event everyday. The week begins with the “Facing /AIDS exhibit at IPFW and there will be HIV testing at Fort Wayne/Allen County Department of Health Medical Annex, by appointment from 8 a.m.-11:30a.m. and 1 p.m.-4:30. Ruby Tuesday restaurant will donate 20 percent of meals purchased to the ATF on Nov 26. Just provide the flyer to the server between 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Other highlights of the week include a red balloon release Thursday afternoon at IPFW'S Walb Student Union, and the distribution of red ribbons. Friday is red ribbon day and the ATF will provide interested businesses with ribbons, but they do make the ribbons by hand so you should call them as soon as possible to order them. On World AIDS Day there will be a celebration at After Dark nightclub, you must at least 21 years of age to attend.
The events will conclude on Wednesday, Dec 5 with a Luminous Night Service of Lament and Promise and the “Facing HIV/AIDS at Plymouth Congregational Church at 7 p.m.
More InformationMonday through Dec. 1:
“Facing HIV/AIDS” exhibit at IPFW, 2101 Coliseum Blvd. E.
*HIV testing at Fort Wayne/Allen County Department of Health Medical Annex, 4813 New Haven Ave. By appointment 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Monday and Tuesday:
*Ruby Tuesday GiveBack event: Ruby Tuesday restaurant, 1050 Coliseum Blvd. E., will donate 20 percent from meals purchased to AIDS Task Force when patrons provide the flyer to their server during business hours 11 a.m. –10 p.m.
*HIV testing at AIDS Task Force, 525 Oxford St., 3-6 p.m.
*“Living with HIV/AIDS” panel discussion at IPFW's Walb Student Union Ballroom noon-1:15 p.m. Open to the public. Cookies and punch will be served.
*STD/HIV testing 1-3 p.m. followed by red balloon release at IPFW's Walb Student Union and distribution of red ribbons for Friday.
*Wear Red and Remember Day: Wear red and/or a red ribbon to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS
*Memorial service at Congregation Achduth Vesholom, 5200 Old Mill Road, at 7 p.m.
Dec. 1, World AIDS Day:
*Celebration at After Dark night club, 1601 S. Harrison St. Ages 21 and over.
*Red Ribbon Giveaways at Macy's MAC makeup counter, Glenbrook Square, 4201 Coldwater Road.
Dec. 2 :
*Remembering HIV/AIDS morning worship service at Plymouth Congregational Church
*Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5310 Old Mill Road, Red Ribbon distribution.
*Luminous Night Service of Lament and Promise and “Facing HIV/AIDS” exhibit at Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W Berry St., at 7 p.m.