Pride San Antonio: Allow Free Rapid HIV testing at San Antonio Pride events
HIV is still the #1 killer of gay men and the Epidemic is as large now as it was when it first began. On top of that, the majority of the people currently contracting and living with HIV are between the ages 0f 18 and 30 years of age!!! Aside from these statistics there is more reason.... The face of HIV and AIDS has changed, the view has changed. It is no longer the Death sentence that it once was. Along with these changes Society has changed and the education and outreach has to change with it.
A huge part of the problem within the epidemic is that so many people are not only under educated on the subject but also choose not to visit clinics, therefore are not tested. So with modern society changing it is time that it should be allowed that testing comes to them. As far as the Gay community is concerned, what better venue than at Gay Pride Events. On May 1st 2013 "Pride San Antonio" an organization that is responsible for the organizing and hosting of the main pride events here in San Antonio Texas held a board meeting. They invited individuals from various groups and corporations that sponsor them. The two most important Groups were the San Antonio AIDS Foundation Media coordinator and Their Director as well as two Coordinators from Project H.O.T. (a new outreach group in San Antonio) These two groups brought forth the idea of Hosting a mobile Unit at the Gay Pride Parade in San Antonio where they would perform Rapid oral HIV testing to those that wish to participate as well as Continued outreach and education.
The Board of Pride San Antonio as a whole were against this idea entirely! Strictly based the fact that the groups presence would be a "Downer" for the event. Aaaaand if someone received a positive result, "....then how are they expected to have fun the rest of the day?" These responses were outrageous to those of us in the room under 50. This epidemic and the lack of knowledge has gone on long enough! We can not allow it to continue to the next generation. If they won't come to the clinic then the clinic can come to them. the boards behavior is simply draping a black veil of the epidemic and this is not 1985 this is 2013 and we have to be as proactive as possible.
Two "Bath Houses" in San Antonio recently allowed these groups to host free testing in the entry ways and lobbies. And they stand to lose long time clients and other patrons just at the sight of testing. However, they did it. They did their part to help get us closer to an end. If a BathHouse will do why won't a Parade?!
I urge you to sign this petition and let your voice be heard! Reach out, Make a Difference, STOP AIDS!!
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