Up & Coming Weekly

November 29, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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10 UCW NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 6, 2022 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Honoring World AIDS Day in Fayetteville by DEBORAH MURPH JACOBS On Dec. 1, we wear red ribbons to support the people living with HIV and honor those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. is day serves as the worldwide united fight against HIV. As one of the most destructive pandemics in modern history, 38 million people have died of the virus, and an estimated 105,000 are living with HIV. HIV was identified in 1984. Last summer, our area made headlines for rank- ing sixth in the nation for newly diagnosed AIDS cases and fifth in the country for newly diagnosed HIV cases. For 2022, inner body research shows Fayetteville, North Carolina, as tenth in the nation for new Sexually Transmitted Disease cases. e NC Communicable Disease Branch reports that there have been 56 newly diagnosed HIV infec- tions for Cumberland County residences between January and September of this year. Cumberland County trails Mecklenburg County, Wake County, and Guilford County in the number of new cases. e nonprofit Cumberland County HIV Task Force (CCHIVTF) is in action to combat this local problem. e organization has been around for over 35 years to provide information and education to the community and is funded by the Southern AIDS Coalition. Jovon McLean serves as Chairman, and Barbara Carraway serves as the organization's Secretary. Together they recently started a podcast on Youtube, "Let's Be Real." In conversations about HIV, McLean says, "We want to invite unusual partners to the table." CCHIVTF meets virtually the first Tuesday of the month from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. A zoom link can be requested from their Face- book page at https://www. facebook.com/cchivtf/ Fayetteville PRIDE will host an awareness campaign and a virtual fundraiser on World AIDS Day to support Community Health Interven- tion Specialty Clinic, located at 2409 Murchinson Road. Community Health Interven- tions conducts finger prick testing and distributes PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) through the Fayetteville com- munity. "e fight for human- ity is everyone's fight for equality," Kathy Greggs, Fayetteville PRIDE Board Member, says. e digital fundraiser can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fayncpride/. In partnership with Southern Regional AHEC White Part B Program and Cumberland County HIV Task Force, e Arts Council will host the exhibit "Tear It Down," which will center around HIV, Faith, and Breaking Stigma. e art exhibit will feature local artists Khalil Coleman, Dominique Wright, Tony Taylor Jr., and Dontre Perry. e display is open to the public and will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 16. e World AIDS Day Celebration and Art Gallery Opening will be at the Arts Council in downtown Fayetteville on Dec. 1. e doors will open at 6 p.m., and the celebration will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. is fun-filled evening will include Hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and outstanding local artwork. e dress code for the event is business casual/ semi-formal. To RSVP, send an email to cumber- landhivgala@gmail.com to ensure guest accom- modations. If you have any questions, please call 910-678-7270. World AIDS Day is an important reminder to the public and the government that HIV has not disap- peared. e need is still there to increase aware- ness, raise money, fight prejudice, and improve education. FEATURE DEBORAH MURPH JACOBS, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Questions and answers about HIV/AIDS a STAFF REPORT e progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS has been remarkable. According to amfAR (formerly known as the American Founda- tion for AIDS Research), annual deaths from AIDS-related causes declined by 43 percent between 2010 and 2020. Much of that de- cline can be credited to increased access to antiretroviral therapies. In 2010, just 7.7 million people across the globe had access to such treatments. By 2020, 27.5 million people had access to such treatments, which reflects the tireless efforts of various advocacy groups determined to help people overcome HIV/AIDS. Ongoing efforts to educate indi- viduals across the globe also has helped in the fight against HIV/ AIDS. COVID-19 has dominated headlines since the World Health Organization first declared a pandemic in March 2020, and that may give the false impression that HIV/AIDS is no longer a signifi- cant threat, particularly in the de- veloped world. However, amfAR reports that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and roughly 14 percent of them are unaware that they're in- fected. Learning more about HIV/ AIDS may compel individuals to be tested, which in turn can lead them to seek potentially lifesaving therapies. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS? HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV resides and multiplies in the white blood cells, which are immune cells that typically pro- tect the body from disease. As HIV grows in an infected person, spe- cific immune cells are damaged or even killed. at weakens the im- mune system and leaves infected individuals vulnerable to a range of additional infections or ill- nesses, including pneumonia and cancer. amfAR notes that AIDS is diagnosed when an individual ex- periences these additional condi- tions or loses a significant amount of immune cells. Is AIDS inevitable after an HIV diagnosis? ough HIV can be a precur- sor to AIDS, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services notes that most individuals in the United States who have been di- agnosed with HIV do not develop AIDS. at's thanks to HIV medi- cine that stops the progression of the disease when it's taken every day as prescribed. Can virally suppressed people being treated for HIV transmit the virus? One of the most noteworthy developments in recent years in regard to antiretroviral therapies was the discovery that such treat- ments can eliminate the risk of transmission to uninfected part- ners. According to amfAR, which sponsored one of the key studies in this area, when individuals with HIV take their antiretroviral therapies as prescribed to achieve lasting viral suppression, they completely remove the risk of transmitting HIV to uninfected partners. e Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made that declaration in 2019. Are treatments for HIV curative? ough HIV medications help individuals diagnosed with the virus live normal, healthier lives, such treatments are not cures. In- dividuals must continue to adhere to their antiretroviral treatments to keep the virus suppressed and avoid transmitting it to their partners. Researchers continue to make remarkable progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Individu- als can do their part by learning about HIV/AIDS and taking mea- sures to protect themselves and their loved ones. More informa- tion is available at www.amfar.org.

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