Thursday was National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
While Thursday’s observance advised more women and girls to be tested for the HIV virus, the impact AIDS has had on women is ongoing.
Of the 100 patients in treatment for HIV/AIDS at Springfield’s Caring Health Centers, 25 percent are women and girls.
“It’s a shocking diagnosis but that’s why we’re here to provide education, life continues on,” Evelyn Cruz, Caring Health Centers medical caseworker told 22News. “You can live your life positively.”
The New North Citizens Council and its Mason Square prevention and education center hosted Thursday’s awareness event at the Mason Square Public Library. There, advocates for AIDS prevention stressed the need for testing and treatment.
“People always think because you look healthy you are healthy, but that’s not the case,” said Cynthia Strokes a Westfield State University drug and alcohol treatment major. “You should always use protection, you should always have one mate.”
Advocates urge anyone man or woman concerned about contracting the HIV virus to be tested immediately. As the New North Citizens Council educator Richard Johnson says, AIDS is a preventable disease.