STAMFORD, Conn. — Employees from the City of Stamford's Health Department offered friendly advice and supplies for safe sex in the Government Center lobby Tuesday.
The awareness campaign was one of the many events in Fairfield County meant to put HIV and AIDS in the spotlight Dec. 1, which was World AIDS Day.
“World AIDS Day is all about bringing awareness to the world. (But) it doesn’t stop with World AIDS Day,” said Supervisor of HIV Prevention Programs Mavina Moore Sr., a longtime health department staffer. “We keep it going all year long.”
The department offers outreach to the community throughout the year, she said. It regularly holds HIV testing, where a community member can get results with a simple oral swab.
The department also regularly visits neighborhoods in a van and connects with citizens through word-of-mouth referrals.
“People pass the message on,” she said. “We’re out there in the community.”
The table in the government center was just one of many programs the department offers. Several brochures and condoms were available for the taking.
One flyer on the table said, “Saying ‘I don’t want to know’ could put the people you love at risk.”
Visitors to the Government Center had a mixed reaction to the setup.
Some Moore approached weren’t even interested in coming to the table. Others embraced the concept, walking up to the table to take condoms and brochures and to talk with the organizers.
The table also offered bilingual information and a Spanish-speaking staff member was available to communicate with Spanish speakers.
Moore said the key of staying safe and healthy is simply to learn more about the virus.
“HIV is still alive,” she said. “If you can get information (on the virus), you can protect yourself.”
While no cure exists, HIV can be controlled with proper medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
If the disease is diagnosed early, those who start taking medicine can live to a healthy age, according to the department.
But “the only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested,” according to the department.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.