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First National Black HIV/AIDS event held for screening, medications, counseling

Five local health agencies partnered for an event, in honor of the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBAHAD) at Downtown MATC. HIV/AIDS tests, medications, counseling and screening were offered free of cost to the people in Milwaukee at MATC (733 W. State St.) S floor.ericka-sinclair-kalila-campbell-greater-milwaukee-center-health-wellness

The local health organizations put up desks, to offer HIV/AIDS tests, counseling and medications for those who need them. An unattended table was left with condoms, so that people can take them without feeling any personal discomfort. Hundreds of condoms were gone within five minutes. Ericka Sinclair, MS, PHH and CEO of Greater Milwaukee of Health and Wellness, Inc said that it worked and people are going to use them.

The program focused on African Americans, who are high risk of contracting the virus. Sinclair mentioned that two in five African American men are HIV positive in Milwaukee alone, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services AIDS/HIV program. NBAHAD falls on February 7, is in its 16th year, and is mostly observed in cities with disproportionate African American HIV and AIDS rates.

The partners for the annual event are  Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood, Wisconsin Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Prevention Network, UMOS and Greater Milwaukee Center for Health and Wellness. The program is funded by the Milwaukee County Department of health and Human Services. Gina Allende, manager at UMOS and coordinator of the yearly event said, “There is so much foot traffic, meaning they come to the people instead of expecting them to come to us.

Though the event is targeted at African Americans, the organizers said that all are welcome. The first 50 people who get tested will receive $10 gift cards. Event organizers mentioned that this is more important for people who engage in high risk sexual behaviors, including gays, lesbians and prostitutes who do not prefer to use condoms.

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