AADAP World AIDS Day By Jo Huang, Health Educator, Outreach Services
On December 13 th , 2019, AADAP Outreach celebrated World AIDS Day in a room full of
red ribbon decorations, raffle giveaways and clients earnestly learning about HIV and
World AIDS day is observed yearly on December 1 st , since 1988. It is a day established
by the World Health Organization (WHO) to commemorate lives we have lost to AIDS, to
honor worldwide efforts to reduce the transmission and health risk of HIV, and to renew
our commitment to ending the epidemic in the United States and around the world.
World AIDS day has a designated theme every year, with this year’s theme being
“community by community”. The theme reminds us that all epidemics are local—and that
working together with communities to respond to local needs is the best way to stop the
epidemic. Around the world, community organizations, including AADAP, are
collaborating with the public and governments to protect our community from
transmitting HIV and keeping those lives that are HIV positive healthy and most
importantly building local communities quipped with information to keep us safe.
As a new staff, I was excited for my first World AIDS day event with AADAP Outreach.
Over the past couple of months I have been learning to talk about HIV/AIDS through a
curriculum called Safety Counts that teaches safe sex and drug use behaviors to active
injection drug users. I was looking forward to seeing how the information was delivered
and adapted for the event to a wider audience from AADAP’s Outpatient Unit, Outreach
clients and the TC. Our own Gloria “Glo” Hill, the MC of the day, enthusiastically led us
through the event, which included a brief history of World AIDS day delivered by myself,
an 101 on HIV/AIDS, STIs and PrEP delivered by Stephanie Haynes, an arts-and-crafts
activity, and lastly closing remarks by Jocella Collins Hurd from the Outpatient Unit.
During the art-and-crafts, clients worked in groups to make poster boards using cut-offs
from magazines and card stocks to present their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and then
presented to the entire room. Throughout the event, clients actively participated in
learning and sharing their own knowledge and experiences. With clients eagerly asking
questions, we were able to clarify many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, and make
aware that HIV positive individuals can still live a normal life by complying with antiviral
medication regimen, committing to safe sexual behaviors and maintaining a healthy
lifestyle. To make the event more engaging, we also raffled off AADAP’s swags, set up a
photo booth, provided a warm lunch and arranged a boutique where clients “shopped”
for items at the end of the event with paper money we allotted to each client.
At the same time of the event, clients also had the opportunity to test for HIV with a mobile unit provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Getting tested and knowing their HIV status is pivotal to the health of an individual and those around them. Sometimes, it can be scary to think about knowing your status, however, testing is the entry way to HIV counseling and services, for individuals who find out they are HIV positive. Besides AHF, there are many locations in LA County that provides FREE HIV testing,
As Outreach services, we are grateful to have organized a successful educational event. We have made this our yearly commitment to engage the AADAP community and continue our work in HIV/AIDS advocacy. Together, we could make strides in reducing the harmful transmission of HIV and supporting lives affected by HIV.