Selma Air agency marks 20th year

Published 5:18 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A local agency that fights HIV and AIDS across Alabama’s Black Belt will mark its 20th year next week on World AIDS Day.

Selma AIR serves eight counties throughout the Black Belt.

“This is just a really great opportunity for community members to come out and see what Selma AIR actually does and has been doing for the last 20 years,” said Lydia Chatmon, prevention specialists and public relations coordinator with the agency.

Email newsletter signup

From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the doors at Selma AIR will be open for people to tour the facility.

At noon, there will be a short program that includes a candlelight vigil.

“We will have a candle lighting ceremony and honor those that have gone on before us as a result of complication related to AIDS,” Chatmon said.

Chatmon said the agency is hoping for a nice turnout, particularly from those in healthcare.

“We’re inviting really anyone that would just like to come out and learn more about HIV and the impact that it is having on our community, but particularly we are looking for healthcare providers and agencies that work with at-risk populations, including young people.”

There with an estimated 12,000 people living with HIV or AIDS in Alabama in 2012. Up to 25 percent of those infected don’t know they have the virus.

There were 622 new HIV diagnoses in 2013 and 333 deaths from AIDS the year before.

“We are working very hard across our eight county areas to make sure people become aware of what HIV actually is, if they are still unaware what the virus is, and also we’re helping people to make better choices,” Chatman said.

Selma AIR is located at 102 Central Park Place.