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HIV/AIDS Awareness Pushed for Women and Girls

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March 6, 2008 — The focus turns to females Friday and Monday with talks, counseling and testing in observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The events are planned by HOPE, Helping Others in a Positive Environment, and V.I. Community AIDS Resource and Education (VICARE).
In conjunction with other community organizations, V.I. Care will sponsor a series of talks from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday at its 43 Queen St. office in Christiansted.
"National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is important because it encourages women and girls in our community to get tested and educate themselves about HIV/AIDS," said Bruce Smail, chief executive officer of the St. Croix-based V.I. Care.
"The local community needs to educate women and girls and provide support to prevent HIV/AIDS. With National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we remind women and girls to talk to their doctor, avoid high-risk behaviors, and routinely get tested for HIV/AIDS."
Topics include women and domestic violence, women and cancer, women and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV 101, women to women: safer sex with women, and safer sex practices.
The talks wrap up with "In Spite of it All," with Liz Maldonado, who has HIV, as the speaker.
V.I. Care will also offer free HIV/AIDS testing, with the results available in 20 minutes. Additionally, counseling on how to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS is available.
V.I. Care's talks also include refreshments and entertainment.
The St. Thomas-based HOPE is joining forces with Roy L. Schneider Hospital to focus on disseminating financial information to young women who are seniors at Charlotte Amalie High School and Eudora Kean High School.
The first seminar is from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday at Charlotte Amalie High School. The second runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday at Eudora Kean High School.
"Poverty has been shown to be one of the factors of HIV," Marcia Gordon, who coaches HOPE's Senior program, said.
She said the "What I Need to Know Before I Graduate" seminars will help the students make savvy financial decisions. They will include how to deal with the credit card offers that will flood their mailboxes when they go off to college and how to budget.
"And how to make smart decisions about HIV," Gordon said.
Free HIV/AIDS testing will be available.
Refreshments will be served.
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. The theme for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2008 is "Honoring Our Sisters: Women Living with HIV/AIDS."
Reach V.I. Care at 692-9111 or visit their website.
The number for HOPE is 777-1611 or visit www.hopeincvi.org.
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