Chattanoogans Recognize World AIDS Day

Tina Martin says she’ll never forget the day she got a call that changed her life.
"The doctor called me at work to tell me in the middle of the day that I was HIV positive and it just floored me…went home and cried for a few days and talked to my boyfriend about it," Martin said.

That was ten years ago, and she’s been able to keep it under control with proper medicine.

"We lost a lot of people trying to find the right medicine and I’m just lucky my time came when there’s something there that can take care of it," Martin said.

But she and others that came together to recognize World AIDS Day said the fight isn’t over until there’s a cure.
Mark Hubbard with the Tennessee Association of People with AIDS spoke at the event.
He led a discussion about a drug called Pre exposure prophylactics or Prep.
 It’s not a cure, but can reduce someone’s chances of contracting HIV.

"Its very highly effective if you take this pill every day.  You get a very high level of protection against HIV .It’s sort of a surrogate for a vaccine because we don’t have a vaccine. We’re working on that," said Hubbard.

Organizers unveiled a quilt that more than 50 children helped make. They were each given a name of a Chattanoogan that passed away from AIDS.

"it’s very important that children are made aware at an early age because it does effect 60 of new HIV cases in Tennessee are 13 to 24 year olds," said AIDS Activist Mario Forte.
Then they had a candlelight vigil to remember those that that lost their battle with the virus.

For more information on AIDS and how to get tested, visit: http://aids.gov/

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