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NWA Center for Equality launches HIV program, sets candlelight vigil for World AIDS Day

The NWA Center for Equality announced it will launch a new program on Dec. 1 — World Aids Day — to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The new program — NWA HIV/AIDS Outreach and Prevention Education (NWA HOPE) — will provide free HIV testing in Fayetteville by appointment from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The Center will also hold a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. at Rogue Pizza on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.
“A program like this has been a long term goal of our Center and is the culmination of the continued passion of so many of our members.
Free, confidential testing in a supportive atmosphere is a need in the NWA area,” said Raymond Sweet, president of the NWA Center for Equality.
Sweet said NWA HOPE will continue to offer free HIV testing by appointment on Mondays, and will offer HIV/AIDS prevention education to the community as the program matures.
Starting in March, HIV/AIDS instructors will be available to speak throughout the region.
Arlis Young, program coordinator, said HIV/AIDS is still an important health issue in both the gay and straight population.
“HIV/AIDS is a real thing in
Arkansas, and new diagnosed infections are pretty equally split among gay and straight populations nationwide.”
World AIDS Day, observed Dec. 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.
The NWA Center for Equality invites the community to participate through testing and by attending the vigil.
Currently NWA HOPE is funded solely by donations to the Center, and community support is crucial. Donations of money to fund the program and basic necessities or nonperishable foods for distribution to local people living with HIV/AIDS are being accepted either at the vigil or at the Center.
For appointments for testing or giving supplies or for more questions, contact Young at ayoung@nwacenterforequality.org.
The NWA Center for Equality is a grassroots support and advocacy movement to achieve equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in NWA.

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