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AUGUSTA, Ga. () – Friday is World AIDS Day and community leaders in the CSRA are working towards bringing more awareness to the cause.
In a 2021 study done by the CDC, an estimated 1.2 billion people were diagnosed with HIV by the end of the year. 2,371 of which were accounted for in the state of Georgia and 652 in South Carolina.
“Today we take the opportunity, pretty much, to culminate the theme, which is our ‘remember and commit.’ But beyond the theme, we just kind of take the day to sort of honor those who were gone before us, but also bring awareness to this rare disease,” Housing Director for the Housing and Community Development Department Hawthorne Welcher, Jr. said.
“But your attendance in here shows me that you’re committing to Augusta, Georgia and you’re committing– not to the stigma, but you’re committing to the education. And committing to what I consider community and economic development,” Welcher Jr. said.
Event leaders say sometimes, gathering a large group can be difficult. But when you have a cause this big, it’s great to see so many faces in support.
“Today with the outcome of the people, here in the community, it was great. It really showed that the city of Augusta is committed to HIV and AIDS,” Housing Program Management, Augusta Housing & Community Development Lasandra Corely said.
HIV and AIDS advocates and Augusta community leaders tell me their efforts reach beyond December 1st.
“We oversee and administer the HOPA program, which is Housing Opportunity of Persons with AIDS and we are funded by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. We have funds for the local communities– the CSRA– and then we cross over to two counties: Aiken and Edgefield, South Carolina to provide services for those individuals. So, we live this every day, it’s not just one day,” Corely said.
That’s why Saturday afternoon, the Augusta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated will host the ‘Ball for a Cause’ Celebrity Basketball Game at Paine College’s HEAL Complex.
“The cause is an opportunity to take your local celebrities to play in a basketball tournament. The tournament is absolutely free to the public, there will be resources available and an opportunity for testing at the tournament…,” Deputy Director, Augusta Housing & Community Development Shauntia Lewis said.
Other organizations that attended the event share about the medical resources available to you, at a lower cost. To learn more information about this, visit.
Saturday’s “Ball for a Cause” Celebrity Basketball game will be held at 3pm.