Health/Fitness » HIV/AIDS

Phoenix Launches Statewide HIV Awareness Campaign

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Dec 16, 2013

Aunt Rita's Foundation and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton are launching a statewide campaign that promotes HIV/AIDS awareness across Arizona through a banner campaign introducing HIVAZ.ORG, Arizona's first comprehensive online database for HIV testing and services.

"I am proud to be a part of the Aunt Rita's banner campaign" said the Honorable Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. "My wife Nicole's brother died of AIDS."

Stanton held banners throughout the state -- including a huge 20 x 40 foot banner on the side of Phoenix City Hall -- to celebrate World Aids Day, December 1 and to remind all Arizonans that HIV/AIDS is still one of the largest epidemics in global history. The only way to stop it is to know your status and get tested.

More than 280 banners, including in civic locations in over 20 cities and every Walgreens statewide, hang across Arizona for the launch of ProjectHIVAZ, Aunt Rita's HIV education and awareness campaign, which introduces HIVAZ.ORG, Arizona's comprehensive online database of HIV testing locations and services.

"There is no shame in knowing your status," said Stanton. "Knowing your status, whether positive or negative, is the only way we are going to stop the spread of this disease. In Arizona, 30-40 percent of the population do not know their status and over 4,000 people in Arizona are HIV-positive and do not know it."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., an estimated 1 in 5 of those do not know they are infected. Everyone aged 15-65 should get a HIV test.

"This campaign is a megaphone for the message that Aunt Rita's spreads everyday," said Aunt Rita's Foundation Executive Director, Kit Kloeckl. "We hope that these banners are a bold statement to all that live with HIV/AIDS that there is hope in education and to the Arizona community that HIV is still an epidemic and everyone needs to know their status and get tested."

Stanton said that this banner campaign was important to "remind all of us that HIV has not gone away. There is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve HIV/AIDS education across Arizona."

Founded in 1987, Aunt Rita's Foundation, is a 501(c)3, nonprofit agency that advocates HIV education and awareness and raises and equitably distributes funds to HIV/AIDS service organizations, with programs to prevent HIV/AIDS or assist those living with the disease. Aunt Rita's primary fund-raiser is the AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run in October.

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Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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