2017 may be the Year of the Rooster, but for the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, it’s the year of HIV awareness and education.

FDHA will host two free community health forums to ensure as many of the area’s residents as possible get informed about the disease. The first forum is this Thursday.

“In terms of HIV, we need to make sure that every age group, every ethnicity knows what their status is,” said FDHA Director of Community Engagement Beverly Burks, who coordinated the events. “We are making sure we provide free HIV testing, and we also have a good panel group.”

The interactive panels include community and outreach leaders like DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, AID Atlanta Executive Director Nicole Roebuck and Dr. Melanie Thompson, founder of AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta. The three major topics to be discussed include pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, social determinants and changing stigmas, Burks said.

Each forum will also have a vendor fair, distributing resources and material related to HIV and AIDS. According to numbers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia ranked fifth in the number of HIV diagnoses in 2013, the most recent year data are available.

“It’s very important we provide the community resources to help reduce the number of HIV cases. It’s important from a hospital and from an authority perspective, given the numbers we’ve seen from the CDC and other sources, that we are doing our part to make sure that the numbers are decreasing,” Burks said.
DeKalb County HIV/AIDS Community Forum
Thursday, Jan. 26
6 to 8 p.m.
Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur
Register

Fulton County HIV/AIDS Community Forum
Thursday, Feb. 2
6 to 8 p.m.
The Good Samaritan Health Center, 1015 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway NW, Atlanta
Register

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