RIVIERA BEACH COUNCILWOMAN HOPES TO DESIGMATIZE HIV/AIDS, OFFER TESTING DURING WORLD AIDS DAY EVENT
RIVIERA BEACH, FL. (Nov. 23, 2022) – Councilwoman Shirley Lanier is hoping to destigmatize and shine a spotlight on AIDS by collaborating with Foundcare and Community Building Advocates to commemorate World AIDS Day with an event supporting those living with the still incurable virus and offering free testing to “know your status.”
Lanier on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. at the Riviera Beach Marina, 190 E. 13th Street, plans to unite the community to show solidarity for people living with HIV, remember those who have died from AIDS- related illnesses and educate the public about prevention, treatment, access to health care and the importance of knowing your status by having free testing on-site.
“‘Equalize’” is the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day. It is a call to action to address the health inequalities and social stigma associated with living with HIV,” Lanier said. “I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for the past 30 years. I am passionate about bringing awareness to the HIV pandemic and working to reduce stigma, especially in the African-American community. HIV is still prevalent in Palm Beach County.”
The event will feature guest speaker Rae Lewis Thornton with a book signing for her newly released book, “Unprotected.” Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS Activist and renowned social justice advocate. She rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with HIV/AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has been credited with changing the face of AIDS for Black women in America. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American culture has requested to catalog her groundbreaking Essence Magazine Cover.
Statistics on HIV/AIDS:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest HIV data available shows Florida as being one of three states in the country with the highest rates for new HIV diagnoses.
- African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections than any other population at all stages of the disease from initial infection to death.
- Black people accounted for 13% of the U.S. population, but 40% of people with HIV.
- In Palm Beach County, nearly half of all new HIV infections are African Americans.
Public Information Officer