Tuesday is World AIDS Day – recognized across the globe. At home in Evansville, dozens are remembering those who have died, and those living with the disease.
The pedestrian bridge over the Lloyd Expressway seems like an unlikely place for a candlelight vigil. But above all the noise, this is exactly where they want it.
“It’s a place where people who aren’t expecting to see any message, are going to see a message about HIV and AIDS,” says Tri-State Alliance President, Wally Paynter.
It’s a strong message and a cold night. The groups is doing its part to raise awareness for a disease affecting hundreds in the city and thousands across Indiana.
Skylar Julian is one standing in solidary, and says the message is “to show you’re not alone dealing with this.”
Paynter says the goal is to encourage people to get tested, because he says the HIV/AIDS epidemic is bigger than what people realize. “What is scarier is a lot of people don’t know their HIV status,” he says.
Indiana State Health Department officials say the disease isn’t as deadly as it once was, but it’s important to be treated.
The AIDS Resource group says more than 300 people in Vanderburgh County are living with the disease.
“A lot of people like to just ignore it,” Julian says, “It’s not something you can ignore. People are dying. You can’t just push that to the side.”
The vigil serves as a kickoff for the Tri-State Alliance AIDS Holiday Project. Their goal is to meet the needs of 400 low-income families in our area dealing with the disease.
You can find more information at AIDSHolidayProject.org