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HIV/AIDS Week Events Planned Throughout Territory

Nov. 26, 2007 — HIV/AIDS organizations across the territory will observe World AIDS Day with a handful of activities that start this week and run into the next, shining the spotlight on a disease that has hit the Virgin Islands particularly hard.
The territory came in at number one out of 33 states and territories reporting the per-capita number of HIV cases, said VICARE director Bruce Smail. The territory was number three when it came to AIDS cases, he said.
These figures point up the fact that the territory has a long way to go when it comes to HIV/AIDS issues, Smail said.
"There's a huge silence, a huge stigma," he said.
The territory needs to step up the flow of information to the territory's youth, in particular, Smail said. The large number of youths with sexually transmitted diseases points out that those same youths are at risk for getting HIV/AIDS, he said.
The American Red Cross has a slew of activities planned on St. Thomas. Pat Odoms, HIV/AIDS prevention director at the Red Cross, said her staff has already started distributing red ribbons to St. Thomas and St. John political leaders, businesses and religious organizations to be worn during the week.
The organization will hold a trivia contest with prizes to include condom lollipops, as well as gift certificates for Subway restaurant and Domino gas station. The contest will run Thursday and Friday on NPR and Radio 1000. It will air Friday only on radio station 105 JAMZ.
TV2 will run a public-service announcement sporadically throughout the week that features actor Jamie Foxx and several basketball stars, Odoms said.
Red Cross activities culminate Friday with an AIDS-awareness event at Tutu Park Mall's center court. It will run from 1 to 4 p.m. The event will provide educational materials for men and women to teach them how to avoid getting the disease. Registration forms will be available for free classes on condom negotiation skills training.
The classes have only four to eight people, all of the same gender, Odoms said.
"We also tell them about the female condom," she said.
Black and Hispanic women ages 30 to 39 are the fastest-growing group of people with new HIV/AIDS cases, Odoms said. The second-highest group was men and women ages 20 to 29, she said.
"But the emerging group is people over 50," Odoms said. "The numbers are starting to rise."
HOPE (Helping Others in a Positive Environment) plans events on both St. Thomas and St. John. HOPE's events start at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas with a program called "The Truth about HIV/AIDS and Young Adults." It's sponsored by the school's Honor Society.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, HOPE will hold a program on "The Effects of HIV on Women Living in the U.S. Virgin Islands." It begins at 6 p.m. at the Methodist Training and Outreach Center on St. Thomas and is sponsored by the YMCA.
HOPE will also conduct an end of the year junior/senior raffle giveaway. It runs Friday through Dec. 14. High School juniors who get tested for HIV/AIDS will have their names entered in a raffle to win an iPod. The raffle prize for high schools seniors is a laptop computer. The school with the most students taking tests receives a home-entertainment center.
The organization's activities conclude with a Saturday candlelight vigil at Winston Wells Ballpark in Cruz Bay, St. John. It begins at 7:15 p.m.
On St. Croix, Saturday is the day for VICARE's 13th annual AIDS Walk for Life and World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil.
The day starts with the five-mile AIDS Walk for Life, which begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Lawaetz Museum on Mahogany Road and runs though the rain forest. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. Pledge forms for the walk can be found at vicareinc.org.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, VICARE members and supporters will walk from St. John's Episcopal Church in Christiansted to the waterfront, where a brief ceremony will be held.
The Health Department has also planned a roster of activities. The Rotary Club of St. Croix will host several HIV-positive residents at its noon meeting Thursday, said Jason J. Henry, who serves as the Health Department's HIV prevention coordinator. The meeting will take place at Gertrude's Restaurant.
"They will speak about living with HIV," Henry said.
Territory-wide, 268 adults and six children got HIV since the department began keeping statistics in 1990, according to statistics from the Health Department. Of that figure, 30 peple died.
The statistics for AIDS show that since the Health Department began keeping records, 598 adults and 14 children got AIDS. Of that figure, 320 people died.
When an HIV patient develops AIDS, that number is removed from the HIV total and is added to the AIDS total, Henry said.
On St. Thomas, a few HIV-positive residents will address the Rotary Club of St. Thomas at its meeting at noon Thursday at Room with a View restaurant at Bluebeard's Castle Hotel. They will speak about HIV/AIDS issues, Henry said.
Additionally, the Health Department will offer outreach and rapid HIV testing on St. Croix. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Estate Glynn and from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Matthew Charles area, located in Estate Prophet. The department's outreach vans will be at those locations, Henry said.
Health Department staff will head out to 2 Plus 2, Moonraker and Club 54 nightclubs on St. Croix and the Greenhouse and Duffy's Love Shack on St. Thomas to offer outreach and testing. This effort begins at 11 p.m. Friday on both islands.
The Central Seventh Day Adventist Youth Group will hold an HIV Walk, which will go from the church to Grove Place Ball Park and Mutual Homes, around Lorraine Village and back to the church. It begins at 4 p.m., with rapid HIV testing available from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
A gospel concert in collaboration with the Central Seventh Day Adventist Music Department will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at St. Croix Educational Complex. Good Hope School on St. Croix will hold a World AIDS Day assembly at 8 a.m. Monday. The Health Department's events wrap up with rapid HIV testing at its methadone program on St. Croix.
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Nov. 26, 2007 -- HIV/AIDS organizations across the territory will observe World AIDS Day with a handful of activities that start this week and run into the next, shining the spotlight on a disease that has hit the Virgin Islands particularly hard.
The territory came in at number one out of 33 states and territories reporting the per-capita number of HIV cases, said VICARE director Bruce Smail. The territory was number three when it came to AIDS cases, he said.
These figures point up the fact that the territory has a long way to go when it comes to HIV/AIDS issues, Smail said.
"There's a huge silence, a huge stigma," he said.
The territory needs to step up the flow of information to the territory's youth, in particular, Smail said. The large number of youths with sexually transmitted diseases points out that those same youths are at risk for getting HIV/AIDS, he said.
The American Red Cross has a slew of activities planned on St. Thomas. Pat Odoms, HIV/AIDS prevention director at the Red Cross, said her staff has already started distributing red ribbons to St. Thomas and St. John political leaders, businesses and religious organizations to be worn during the week.
The organization will hold a trivia contest with prizes to include condom lollipops, as well as gift certificates for Subway restaurant and Domino gas station. The contest will run Thursday and Friday on NPR and Radio 1000. It will air Friday only on radio station 105 JAMZ.
TV2 will run a public-service announcement sporadically throughout the week that features actor Jamie Foxx and several basketball stars, Odoms said.
Red Cross activities culminate Friday with an AIDS-awareness event at Tutu Park Mall's center court. It will run from 1 to 4 p.m. The event will provide educational materials for men and women to teach them how to avoid getting the disease. Registration forms will be available for free classes on condom negotiation skills training.
The classes have only four to eight people, all of the same gender, Odoms said.
"We also tell them about the female condom," she said.
Black and Hispanic women ages 30 to 39 are the fastest-growing group of people with new HIV/AIDS cases, Odoms said. The second-highest group was men and women ages 20 to 29, she said.
"But the emerging group is people over 50," Odoms said. "The numbers are starting to rise."
HOPE (Helping Others in a Positive Environment) plans events on both St. Thomas and St. John. HOPE's events start at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas with a program called "The Truth about HIV/AIDS and Young Adults." It's sponsored by the school's Honor Society.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, HOPE will hold a program on "The Effects of HIV on Women Living in the U.S. Virgin Islands." It begins at 6 p.m. at the Methodist Training and Outreach Center on St. Thomas and is sponsored by the YMCA.
HOPE will also conduct an end of the year junior/senior raffle giveaway. It runs Friday through Dec. 14. High School juniors who get tested for HIV/AIDS will have their names entered in a raffle to win an iPod. The raffle prize for high schools seniors is a laptop computer. The school with the most students taking tests receives a home-entertainment center.
The organization's activities conclude with a Saturday candlelight vigil at Winston Wells Ballpark in Cruz Bay, St. John. It begins at 7:15 p.m.
On St. Croix, Saturday is the day for VICARE's 13th annual AIDS Walk for Life and World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil.
The day starts with the five-mile AIDS Walk for Life, which begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Lawaetz Museum on Mahogany Road and runs though the rain forest. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. Pledge forms for the walk can be found at vicareinc.org.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, VICARE members and supporters will walk from St. John's Episcopal Church in Christiansted to the waterfront, where a brief ceremony will be held.
The Health Department has also planned a roster of activities. The Rotary Club of St. Croix will host several HIV-positive residents at its noon meeting Thursday, said Jason J. Henry, who serves as the Health Department's HIV prevention coordinator. The meeting will take place at Gertrude's Restaurant.
"They will speak about living with HIV," Henry said.
Territory-wide, 268 adults and six children got HIV since the department began keeping statistics in 1990, according to statistics from the Health Department. Of that figure, 30 peple died.
The statistics for AIDS show that since the Health Department began keeping records, 598 adults and 14 children got AIDS. Of that figure, 320 people died.
When an HIV patient develops AIDS, that number is removed from the HIV total and is added to the AIDS total, Henry said.
On St. Thomas, a few HIV-positive residents will address the Rotary Club of St. Thomas at its meeting at noon Thursday at Room with a View restaurant at Bluebeard's Castle Hotel. They will speak about HIV/AIDS issues, Henry said.
Additionally, the Health Department will offer outreach and rapid HIV testing on St. Croix. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Estate Glynn and from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Matthew Charles area, located in Estate Prophet. The department's outreach vans will be at those locations, Henry said.
Health Department staff will head out to 2 Plus 2, Moonraker and Club 54 nightclubs on St. Croix and the Greenhouse and Duffy's Love Shack on St. Thomas to offer outreach and testing. This effort begins at 11 p.m. Friday on both islands.
The Central Seventh Day Adventist Youth Group will hold an HIV Walk, which will go from the church to Grove Place Ball Park and Mutual Homes, around Lorraine Village and back to the church. It begins at 4 p.m., with rapid HIV testing available from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
A gospel concert in collaboration with the Central Seventh Day Adventist Music Department will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at St. Croix Educational Complex. Good Hope School on St. Croix will hold a World AIDS Day assembly at 8 a.m. Monday. The Health Department's events wrap up with rapid HIV testing at its methadone program on St. Croix.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.