The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Ryan White Program will host a forum discussing the many challenges of HIV and AIDS.
The free event will take place on World AIDS Day, Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium on UT’s Main Campus. Light refreshments will be served at a reception from 5 to 5:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion.
“The goal of the Ryan White Program and World AIDS Day is to reduce the stigma surrounding the HIV epidemic and to open a dialogue to educate the public about the myths and facts associated with HIV,” said Kennyetta White, minority outreach coordinator. “We need to work together to change public perceptions. While HIV infection rates are down, we still need to talk about risk factors and preventative measures.”
Panel members will include individuals living with or affected by HIV, as well as community health-care and service providers. The panelists will offer insight into the world of HIV and field questions from audience members.
World AIDS Day has been recognized every year since 1988 to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic and recognize those who have lost their lives to the disease.
“This forum is open to students, faculty, the HIV community and anyone else interested in learning more about HIV,” said Te’Anne Townsend, senior public health major and intern with the Ryan White Program. “This is an opportunity to separate fact from fiction, educate the public, and work to end stigma.”
UTMC’s Ryan White Program offers high-quality comprehensive HIV/AIDS care services. The program uses a multidisciplinary model that incorporates health care, mental health services and case management for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Lucas County and the surrounding counties in northwest Ohio.
“We encourage UT students and young adults in the community to attend,” said Megan Cooper, master of public health student and intern with the Ryan White Program. “It’s important for young people to understand risks of contracting HIV and the effects it has on a community to make a difference for future generations.”