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Join the Fight to be held Nov. 23

November 20, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is partnering with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Source of Light and Hope McGregor Clinic to hold a community event called Join the Fight, as a way to celebrate World AIDS Day.

Regional HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator Harry Marius said the Department of Health-Lee collaborates with community partners to remember the lives that have been lost in the fight against HIV and to celebrate those who continue to fight the disease.

"Celebration of World AIDS Day is an important community event because it joins community partners and citizens in the fight against HIV/AIDS by providing an opportunity to spark dialogue towards stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS among all populations," he said. "It also aids in the effort to eradicate HIV stigmas and blame."

World Aids Day in the Park, Join the Fight, will be held from 12 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, at Roberto Clemente Park, 3265 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Fort Myers.

The day of festivities will include a number of free health screenings -- vision screenings; flu shots; HIV/STD testing; blood pressure and cholesterol and A1c checks. There will also be raffle prizes, such as NFL/MLB merchandise and tickets; Busch Gardens tickets; a bicycle and Thanksgiving baskets.

There will also be such activities as kids crafts, community vendors, chair massages, bounce house and a basketball competition.

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There will also be such a number of food trucks on site, including Breaking Bread, The Frozen Chosen, The Folkswagon and Firebread.

"The goal of the DOH-Lee is educate the public that a HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. HIV has become a chronic illness that can be managed by effective treatment," Marius said. "This treatment is available to all HIV positive individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Increasing awareness through community events and harnessing partnerships has been evidence to reduction of new diagnosis and increasing linkage services to residents in Southwest Florida."

On Dec. 1 of every year around the world, World AIDS Day is celebrated. This year the national theme is "Communities Make the Difference."

He said World AIDS Day started in 1988 as the first ever global health day.

"From the inception of the virus to today's date we have made significant medical improvement," Marius said. "The stigma, however, continues to be a roadblock in linkage to care and adherence."



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