The LIAAC Blog

News and thoughts from the Long Island Association for AIDS Care

September 16, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking

2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking

By: Melissa Colleary

On August 30, 2016, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care’s Educated Choices Healthy Options (ECHO) program hosted the 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking at the Brentwood Public Library. This event was part of an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The ECHO Program’s 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking involved a panel discussion of several esteemed professionals in their respective fields. These panelists included: Assemblyman Philip Ramos of the 6th Assembly District, Police Officer Elisa McVeigh of the Suffolk County Community Relations Bureau, Alexander Arias of Brentwood High School, Leah Richberg and Kavita Chadee of the ECHO program, Brittany Becker from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Isai Fuentes and Melissa Smith of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Charlene Rogers of L.I. Against Domestic Violence, and Anthony Rizzuto of Seafield Services.

The panel discussion spanned two hours, consisting of conversations about what to do if you suspect someone you care about is involved in underage drinking, and how to address the topic with someone who does not believe underage drinking to be a problem in the community.

Having panelists from a wide array of organizations participate in this event ensured varied responses to the posed questions, which allowed for a wide spectrum of information to be shared.

The 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking was an outstanding success on social media. The event was live-streamed on Facebook and reached 1,758 people with 621 views. For future Town Hall Meetings, the ECHO program hopes to boost physical attendance while maintaining the vast reach on social media. Those who attended the event suggested hosting a future event during the school year to increase attendance. Overall, the event was extremely effective, providing the Brentwood community with much needed resources to help combat the epidemic of underage drinking.

August 25, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on Five Reasons You Should Use a Condom (Besides Not Getting Pregnant)

Five Reasons You Should Use a Condom (Besides Not Getting Pregnant)

By: Melissa Colleary

If you or your partner are using birth control, or your partner is the same sex as you, it may feel as though there is no real need to use condoms. Whether you’re at risk for pregnancy or not, condoms are still an important part of your sexual health.

1. HIV and STIs can happen to anyone

Although HIV and STIs are more prevalent in certain demographics, the reality is that HIV and STIs do not discriminate against sexual orientation, skin color, injection drug use, or economic class. All people are susceptible to contracting sexually transmitted infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistent and correct condom use can reduce your risk of contracting HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs. For condom use to be most effective they should be used correctly with every sex act.

To learn how to properly put on a condom, click here.

2. PrEP does not prevent against other STIs

While pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) does protect against HIV, it does not provide protection against other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonhorrea, and syphilis. Even if you are currently taking PrEP, you are still at risk for sexually transmitted infections if you do not consistently and correctly use condoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Syphilis continues to increase among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Recent outbreaks among MSM have been marked by high rates of HIV coinfection and high-risk sexual behaviors (such as sex without a condom, new or multiple partners, and substance abuse).

It is important to emphasize that having sex without a condom, regardless of PrEP usage, is considered to be a high-risk sexual behavior as it leaves the individual vulnerable for other sexually transmitted infections.

3. Your partner’s status might not be what you think

This one isn’t about your partner lying to you about being “clean” or having a negative HIV or STI status. It’s more likely that they just don’t know. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that of the 1.2 million people estimated to have HIV in the United States, about one in eight are unaware of their infection. Additionally, when it comes to STIs, many people do not know they are infected because STIs often have no symptoms.

If your partner doesn’t know their status, then you may not either.

High rates of undiagnosed HIV and STIs mean it is extremely important to use condoms with every sexual encounter and get tested often.

Free and confidential mobile testing is available throughout Long Island when you schedule an appointment with a LIAAC tester by calling 866-236-3448

4. You have multiple partners

While mutual monogamy can be a way to prevent against HIV and STIs, it is not for everyone. If having multiple partners is what is best for you, make sure to always use condoms. It is important to use condoms with all of your sexual partners, as choosing to have unprotected sex with just one of your partners can still result in STIs and HIV.

5. You’re not just putting yourself at risk

If you are choosing to have sex without a condom, the consequences might not only affect you. If you contract HIV or STIs from having unprotected sex and are not getting tested regularly, you are likely to spread that infection on to your partner(s).

When it comes to using condoms, it’s best to follow this rule: If you wouldn’t want someone to give you an STI or HIV, don’t leave your partners susceptible to the same.

To best protect yourself and your partner(s) against sexually transmitted infections, use condoms with every sexual encounter, know your HIV and STI status, and get tested.



August 23, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC to Host SAMHSA Town Hall Meeting about Underage Drinking Prevention

LIAAC to Host SAMHSA Town Hall Meeting about Underage Drinking Prevention

By: Melissa Colleary

Underage drinking is a problem that is too often swept under the rug due to the belief that “kids will be kids”. While the perception tends to be that alcohol use is an acceptable rite of passage, underage drinking is illegal and potentially deadly.

Each year, there are reports of teenagers and young adults ending a night of partying in the emergency room, and on occasion, obituaries for those who don’t survive. The New York State Department of Health reported that in 2013, there were over 100,000 alcohol-related emergency visits in New York State[i] and Newsday reported that between 2010 and 2015, over 350 individuals on Long Island died as a result of binge drinking[ii].

These casualties and injuries can be avoided.

Alcohol use is glamourized in the media, leading young people to believe that drinking will make them more fun, more popular, and easier to talk to. In reality, consuming large amounts of alcohol can make an individual sick, act in a way they normally wouldn’t, or lead to serious injury.

Underage drinking is by no means an isolated issue plaguing some communities and not others. Instead, high school students throughout all of New York State are drinking, often in excess. According to the December 2015 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking, approximately 29% of youth ages 12 to 20 reported using alcohol in the past 30 days and about 17.4% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days[iii].

High rates of alcohol use among teens and young adults are due, in part, to social norms and the acceptance of alcohol use by parents and peers; accessibility; lack of knowledge about the risks associated with drinking; a desire to fit in; and even boredom.

Although obstacles are present, underage drinking is preventable. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that youth who have a trusting relationship with their parents are less likely to engage in drinking[iv]. By openly engaging with your child daily, conversations about alcohol use can have a positive impact on their decision making.

As adults, caregivers, and educators, it is our job to ensure the safety of young people, particularly when it comes to underage drinking.

Join the Long Island Association for AIDS Care at the Brentwood Public Library on August 30, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for the 2016 Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking. This meeting will mobilize our communities to become more educated and take action to prevent underage drinking. The forum will provide insights on topics related to drunk driving, support services available in the Brentwood community, the consequences for those who engage in underage drinking, and the importance of early intervention as means to deter potential alcohol and drug use.

[i] New York State Department of Health. New York State All Payer Emergency Room Visits (2013). Table 3. (

[ii] Deutsch, Kevin. Newsday. Binge Drinking Killed 354 People on Long Island in the Past 5 Years, Records Show. (April 11, 2015) (

[iii] The December 2015 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking (2015). P. 676 (

[iv] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Contributing Factors and What you Can Do. (

May 24, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Hosts Movies & Mocktails Event for Alcohol Awareness Month

LIAAC Hosts Movies & Mocktails Event for Alcohol Awareness Month

By: Melissa Colleary

Annually, Alcohol Awareness Month is celebrated in April with the goal of decreasing the stigma associated with alcoholism by encouraging conversations about recovery and the impacts that alcohol can have on the body. This year, The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, in partnership with Pride for Youth, a service and an advocate for LGBTQ youth, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, sponsored a Movies and Mocktails event. This event was an alcohol free evening that focused on showing youth alternatives to drinking alcohol in social situations.


This event was inspired by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence’s “Alcohol Free Weekend” that takes place annually during the month of April. The Alcohol Free Weekend invites individuals to partake in a three day sobriety campaign. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks, and when women consume four or more drinks, in about two hours.


The Movies and Mocktails event had four key components: education on binge drinking, sex, and the risk factors of drinking and driving by both LIAAC and MADD; a demonstration on how to make alcohol-free cocktails or “mocktails”; games that taught participants about the dangers of having sex under the influence of alcohol; and a film.


Participants were informed about the services that MADD provides to victims of drunk driving accidents and were educated about the harmful effects of alcohol. According to state data, Suffolk had 853 alcohol-related crashes in 2013 — more than 10 percent of the state’s total — of which 51, or 14 percent of the statewide total, were fatal. Nassau had 548 alcohol-related crashes in 2013, of which 26 resulted in a fatality. Newsday reported that at least 354 people of all ages died from drinking too much alcohol from 2010 to 2015. MADD’s presentation focused on how their organization helps victims and their families, for example, advocacy for victims, introducing victims to each other as a means of support, and providing a space for tributes where family members of victims can tell their stories as a way to put a face behind a drunk driving statistic.


Attendees were offered samples of alcohol free cocktails, or mocktails, such as alcohol-free mint juleps, alcohol-free margaritas, and an Arizona sunrise, which is made with orange juice, lemon-lime soda, and grenadine. Of the three beverages, the mint juleps were the crowd favorite. Although skeptical at first, those who sampled the mocktails soon started to get excited about opportunities to replicate them at social events in the future.


Games such as “dry pong”, “what’s in your bag?” and “drunk condom” were played, all with the intention of teaching about the sexual health risk factors associated with alcohol in a fun way. Dry pong and drunk condom were the games that drew the most attention, with competitions forming to see who could answer the most questions and who could correctly put on a condom the fastest. While the activities were created to incite fun, they also were meant to show the negative effects that alcohol may play in placing one at sexual risk.


The Movies & Mocktails event featured the documentary film “The Hunting Ground,” provided by Pride for Youth. This documentary focused on the stories of students who are survivors of rape on college campuses. More than one in every six freshmen women are raped during their first year at college while too drunk or drugged to fend off their attacker, a new U.S. study reports. This documentary served as a way to educate participants on the dangers of drinking as well as inform them on ways to protect themselves and others from these kinds of attacks. Popcorn was served during the movie and attendees were extremely engaged in the film, with many staying to discuss shocking and enlightening moments that they enjoyed while watching.


This event was an incredibly fun experience for all involved. Those who attended expressed their excitement for future events of a similar nature.


To view pictures from our Movies & Mocktails event, go to our Facebook page at

event page banner

April 11, 2016
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Hosts Red Pump and Red Tie Event for National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day

LIAAC Hosts Red Pump and Red Tie Event for National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day

BY: Melissa Colleary

For National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc., Project ECHO (Educated Choices Healthy Options) grant, hosted a Red Pump and Red Tie Event aimed at creating a conversation surrounding women’s health and the rising rates of HIV infection among women, particularly those considered to be ethnic and racial minorities in low income areas. This year’s Red Pump and Red Tie Event was held at Brentwood Public Library which sits in the heart of a generally underserved minority community.

While traditionally the red ribbon is the symbol for HIV and AIDS awareness, for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the red pump takes the place of the traditional awareness ribbon to celebrate and empower women while simultaneously providing education and resources. For this year’s event, LIAAC’s Project ECHO decided to add red ties as a way for men to join the conversation about women’s health.

This year’s Red Pump and Red Tie Event has been the most outstanding and impactful event with over 300 condoms distributed to 66 people within a four hour period. In addition to condom packs, we distributed informational pamphlets, condom keychains, safety flashlights, and safety whistles. Part of what made this event such a success was the help of several vendors, including: Five Towns Community Center; TriCare Systems; Hudson River Health; Long Island Harvest; Affinity Health; Long Island Against Domestic Violence; and the National Coalition for Negro Women: Suffolk Chapter.

Each of these organizations helped to provide the Brentwood community with resources and information on how to get enrolled in health care, get tested for HIV and STIs, obtain help in harmful situations, and find access to services that they may not have known were available. In a county where 32.9% of people living with HIV are women, as reported in 2013[1], it is extremely important to provide educational and preventative resources to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The National Coalition for Negro Women: Suffolk Chapter donated red velvet cupcakes which were used in this year’s Condoms and Cupcakes initiative which required participants to correctly demonstrate how to put on a condom or correctly answer three questions about sexual health to win a cupcake. As 44 out of the 66 encounters of the day were youths between the ages of 13 and 25, this initiative proved to be an invaluable resource in helping a community that experiences teen pregnancy rates that are 73% higher than Suffolk County’s average in 2013[2].

LIAAC also sponsored a social media campaign that asked participants to write down the reasons why they think it is important to know their HIV, Hep-C, and STI status as a way to reduce the stigma behind the conversation about sexual health in hopes of stopping further spread. The written responses were photographed and turned into a video using the app Flipagram and can be viewed at

As part of this grant, we plan to host similar activities surrounding world, national, and prevention awareness days. See our Facebook page for more events at .

[1] New York State Department of Health. New York State HIV/AIDS County Surveillance Report (Includes State Prison Inmates) For Cases Diagnosed Through December 2013. Page 258. Table 1a

[2] Steve Bellone – Suffolk County Executive. Indices of Youth Needs in Suffolk County 2013. Office of the County Executive Suffolk County Youth Bureau. Page 11

October 15, 2015
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care celebrates National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD).

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care celebrates National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD).

2015NLAAD_LatinoBanner_vertOctober 15, 2015 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. It marks the end of a month long celebration of Hispanic Heritage. Established in 2003, and coordinated by the Latino Commission on AIDS, this day was established to bring awareness of the incredible impact HIV/AIDS has had on the Hispanic/Latino community throughout the United States. NLAAD encourages community organizations, faith based groups and local government agencies to communicate and work together. Through communication and cooperation, NLAAD works tirelessly to raise HIV awareness by highlighting the importance of HIV prevention & education, and by promoting HIV testing events to a Hispanic/Latino community heavily impacted by the effects of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and other STI’s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV poses a serious threat to the health of the Hispanic/Latino community. The facts are sobering, with the CDC projecting that at some point in their lives 1 in 36 Hispanic/Latino men and 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latino women will be diagnosed with HIV. In addition, the CDC reported that Hispanic/Latinos accounted for over one-fifth or 21%, of all new HIV infections within the US in 2010. These numbers are alarming, considering that in 2010 the Hispanic/Latino community made up approximately 16% of the US population, yet the rate of new HIV infection was 3 times higher than that of the white population.

This year, NLAAD’s theme is “To end AIDS, Commit to Act/Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprométete a Actuar.” The Long Island Association for AIDS Care is committed to providing free and confidential HIV testing, education, and outreach initiatives to every Long Island community. We especially encourage the many Long Island Hispanic/Latino communities to act now and get tested, it’s a commitment worth making. For information on events and testing initiatives we will offer in recognition of NLAAD, please visit our Facebook page at or call our toll free hotline at 1‐877‐TO‐LIAAC.

September 24, 2015
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on LIAAC Participates in the Nassau County 4th Annual Health & Wellness Fair

LIAAC Participates in the Nassau County 4th Annual Health & Wellness Fair

NassauCountyAwardOn July 11, 2015 the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. (LIAAC) participated in the Nassau County 4th Annual Health & Wellness Fair hosted by Nassau County Legislator, District 3 – Carrié Solages. Held at Green Acres Mall, LIAAC was one of over a dozen agencies that participated in an event that went from 11am – 3pm. This successful event has grown each year, bringing together healthcare providers and services under one roof to provide Nassau County residents with valuable resources and information. The hundreds of attendees and mall patrons made their way through numerous booths, where providers engaged the public and handed out FREE giveaways to promote awareness on many health related issues they may not get on a regular, everyday basis. LIAAC was on hand to provide valuable FREE and CONFIDENTIAL HIV & HEP C testing, and staff engaged the public and answered any questions people may have had. Anyone who visited the LIAAC booth was treated to many useful giveaway items, FREE condoms and valuable literature on many health related topics such as HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Syphilis, STD’s and chronic diseases. Nassau County and Legislator Solages, awarded LIAAC for their participation in the event, with a special citation thanking them for “outstanding community commitment and dedication”. LIAAC was proud to be part of this prestigious annual event. LIAAC strives to serve the Long Island community each and every day with services that promote education, awareness and healthy behavior as well as providing testing throughout Long Island. Please visit our Facebook page at and review our many informative posts and go to for valuable information on our programs and services.

July 28, 2015
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) celebrates World Hepatitis Day

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) celebrates World Hepatitis Day

2015HIVTestingDayBanner_blogwebJuly 28, 2015 is World Hepatitis Day. Coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance and recognized by the World Health Organization, this years theme is “Prevent Hepatitis: It’s up to you”. The mission of World Hepatitis Day is to raise awareness about viral hepatitis to educate through better prevention plans, create better avenues and access to treatment and encourage governments into action. LIAAC joins in their mission by standing up to be counted as one of the 4000 voices the Alliance is seeking to help raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

According to the World Hepatitis Alliance 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C and every year 1.4 million people die from viral hepatitis. Currently there is a vaccine available for both Hepatitis A and B but to date there is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C, which is the most prevalent form. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 4.4 million people are living with hepatitis and over 50% don’t even know they have it. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. Approximately 15,000 people die every year from Hepatitis C related liver disease.

In recognition of World Hepatitis Day 2015 and to help stem the tide of the over 15,000 new cases of hepatitis reported within New York State each year, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care’s mobile outreach will provide free and rapid Hepatitis C testing throughout Long Island. LIAAC will also launch hepatitis education initiatives on the illness at various locations within our communities. For more information on our Hepatitis education and testing events visit our Facebook page at or visit our Twitter page at

July 17, 2014
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Long Island Association for AIDS Care Observes World Hepatitis Day 2014

The Long Island Association for AIDS Care Observes World Hepatitis Day 2014

July 28, 2014 is World Hepatitis Day. Coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance and recognized by the World Health Organization, the past themes have been “get tested” and “This is hepatitis. Know it. Confront it.” The mission of World Hepatitis Day is to raise awareness on the epidemic and educate on how to prevent viral hepatitis, to increase hepatitis B vaccine coverage, and to coordinate a global response to hepatitis.

Hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. In the U.S., an estimated 4.4 million people are unaware they are living with hepatitis and one million people die every year from the illness. According to a press release dated January 18th, 2005 from Senator Schumer’s office, data shows Hepatitis C is growing in prevalence on Long Island.  In 2004, Suffolk County identified 7,000 residents as having Hepatitis C while the Nassau County Department of Health reported 4,364 cases of chronic Hepatitis C. This year, there was a new public health law in New York requiring that health care providers offer hepatitis C screening test to every individual born between 1945-1965.  Individuals born during these years in the U.S. represent three fourths of all Hepatitis C infections. The federal government created a Viral Hepatitis Action Plan for 2014-2016 that will detail the steps agencies will take to prevent hepatitis and ensure care and treatment resources are available for those in need.

In recognition of World Hepatitis Day 2014, the Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) will provide free and rapid hepatitis C testing in Long Island’s communities through mobile outreach. LIAAC will also launch Hepatitis education initiatives on the illness affecting 300,000 people in New York State and Long Island.

July 15, 2014
by Liaacinc
Comments Off on The Faith Communities Project

The Faith Communities Project

by D. Ray Ward, MAOM, CASAC, CPP
Chief Program Officer

Historically, Houses of Worship have been a place that inspires change, hope and faith to community residents.  In addition to spiritual nurturing, they provide shelter, food assistance and other social service supports.  Congregations have come to trust their spiritual leaders to guide them through tough and uncertain times.  In these times of high prevalence of HIV/HCV/STI transmission in ethnic minority communities, the faith leadership has another higher calling – to assist with reducing the transmission of HIV/ HCV and other STI’s in the hardest-hit communities. Yes, faith-based organizations are an integral part of the National HIV/AIDS/HCV/ STI Public Health Strategy: to reduce stigma and discrimination, get people screened/tested and know their status, linkage to care for those who screen/ test positive, retention in care over time, and provision of antiretroviral therapy to achieve viral suppression.

The NYS DOH AIDS Institute, Faith Communities Project (FCP) fosters regional partnerships with faith-based organizations and community-based organizations to deliver prevention information, HIV/HCV/STI screening/rapid testing and identify various community supportive resources.  The Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. (LIAAC) is the largest and oldest AIDS service organization on Long Island and a devoted member of the Faith Communities Project; as LIAAC’s Chief Program Officer, I serve on the Nassau/ Suffolk County Regional Committee.  Annually, there are four faith community programs held that target “What Congregations Need to Know!” Two events are in Suffolk County and two are in Nassau County.  Each program runs from 6 pm – 9 pm. In 2013, topics included HIV/AIDS Treatment, Hidden Infections: Hepatitis C/HIV /STI, Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation and Impact of HIV/AIDS on LGBTQ Youth.  We were able to reach nearly 200 participants with prevention messages and made available HIV/STI/HCV screening and rapid testing.

On April 24, 2014, the Long Island Regional Committee moderated and facilitated its first program of the year on Impact of Stigma and Discrimination on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, at the St. John’s Baptist Church of Westbury.   Hope Zewou, LIAAC’s Prevention Specialist, delivered a well prepared and thought provoking PowerPoint education presentation.  The congregation learned they too could unknowingly stigmatize and discriminate against other members of their congregation who may also be HIV positive. Ms. Zewou presentation was so well received; there were many questions during the Q&A session and not enough time to answer all of them.  In fact, the program did not end until 9:30 pm.

After the program’s closing remarks and benediction, participants and presenters continued to dialogue and network. The next faith-based program will be June 24, at The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook from 6 pm -9 pm. The topic will be on Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, HIV/AIDS & Our Young People. In September and November – locations to be announced – topics will be on LGBTQ Youth and Intermit Partner Violence respectfully.

In 2011 the CDC contends that 6,000 Persons Living w/Diagnosed HIV Infection resided in Nassau- Suffolk County; of that number, a little more than half or 58% received continuous care during the year. The relationship between and impact of HIV, HCV and other STI’s has been well documented. African Americans and Hispanics comprise respectfully 18% and 36% of Nassau and Suffolk Counties general population but represent 44% and 28% of newly diagnosed AIDS cases and 36% and 22% of emergent HIV cases. Although people are living longer due to the advances in HIV/HCV and STI medications, we still have a long way to go in reducing stigma and discrimination. As the result of stigma and discrimination, many people are not comfortable with getting screened/tested and seeking medical care and support for their positive diagnosis, for fear of being ostracized by their community.  Many individuals don’t know their status they are our friends, family, coworkers and members of our church congregation.

If we are ever to achieve an “AIDS Free Generation” it will take more diverse sectors like faith–based communities working with the government and other community based organizations to reduce the impact of stigma and discrimination. Know Your Status, Get Tested!  For more information regarding the next faith-based program coming to your community, or how to get involved with the Faith Communities Project or schedule a prevention program, HIV/HCV/STI screening or testing event at your organization, please contact LIAAC’s Hotline: 1-887-865-4222 and ask for D. Ray Ward.