By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – June is AIDS Education month and a Center City non-profit is reaching out to the city’s most vulnerable populations.
Philadelphia Fight has organized nearly a dozen events on everything about HIV and AIDS, including testing, research, stigma and prevention.
“For example, there’s a new program called PREP — pre-exposure prophylaxis — where you can take one pill a day to prevent HIV that I think a lot of people have never even heard of,” says Juliet Yates, director of education for Philadelphia Fight. She says take the information to the community by hosting a step show, hip hop concert, gospel performance, a community cookout and several education summits.
“We want people to know HIV is not a death sentence anymore,” says Yates, “there is treatment out there and you can live a long and healthy life with HIV.”
But the fight is not over. Yates says the infection rate in Philadelphia is five times the national average and many people still do not understand how HIV is transmitted.
“We still have people asking whether you can get HIV by sharing utensils,” says Yates, who notes ignorance leads to misunderstanding and heightened stigma. She says Fight’s goal in June is to get the message out to vulnerable populations, such as young, gay men of color, African Americans and young people.
Fight is hosting a step show tonight at Temple University Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street.
All of Fight’s AIDS educations events are free, including a Hip Hop concert featuring rapper Wale and and gospel performance with Marvin Sapp.
To register, go to www.aidseducationmonth.org.