Yuma forum to promote awareness of AIDS

Yuma forum to promote awareness of AIDS

October 04, 2011 9:00 PM

The organizers of a community forum on AIDS are counting on an Oct. 15 event to lead to a higher level of public awareness that they say is needed in the battle against the deadly disease.

The forum, free and open to the public, will bring together speakers and health experts to talk about AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes it. It is set for 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Yuma Heritage Library, 350 S. 3rd Ave., and on the grounds outside the building.

Organizers of the event are Back to the Basics, Please, a Yuma group dedicated to promoting AIDS awareness and prevention, and the Somerton-based Regional Centers for Border Health (RCBH).

While AIDS has spread around the planet, it presents specific challenges and risk in Yuma County, given not only the area’s proximity to Mexico but its location on a major freeway between Phoenix and San Diego, said Brandon Bennett, president of Back to the Basics. Since so many people travel frequently between Yuma County and Mexico, he said, it becomes harder to compile the up-to-date statistics about AIDS incident that are crucial in the fight against the disease.

The presentations, all inside the library, are open to the public, but residents wishing to attend should register in advance, since space is limited. To do so, call Edward Carns, 928-503-2524.

Outside on the library grounds, RCBH will offer free HIV testing and health screenings at a mobile medical unit that it is supplying for the event, said Mariajose Almazan, the organization’s community resources director.

RCBH acquired the unit as part of efforts to make HIV testing more accessible to residents around the county, Bennett said.

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