Shelby County students spread AIDS awareness message - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County students spread AIDS awareness message

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

World AIDS Day is Thursday and it didn't go unnoticed in Shelby County.

AIDS affects more than 30 percent of the Memphis population, according to the most recent statistics from the Shelby County Health Department.

Students gathered inside Carver High School in honor of World AIDS Day on Thursday. It was a time for education and getting out into the community. 

"HIV is a disease ravaging our community," student Paige Williams said.

That is exactly why the G.W. Carver High School students joined together with Shelby County Health Department and other local organizations to spread awareness and understanding.

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said new numbers hit home for the students.

"We've had new cases in both adolescents and adults, and we want young people to know they're at risk," Haushalter said.

She said out of the 277 new diagnosed cases of HIV in 2015 from Shelby County, 12 of those were teenagers.

That means 12 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in teenagers between the ages of 15-19.

Haushalter said 86 percent of those diagnosed were African-American.

Officials want the community to stop being afraid to talk about these issues. They also want this young generation to lead the way on promoting awareness and education about AIDS.

Working together with local organizations supplying resources for testing and treatment, they're hoping to bring the conversation out of the school and into their community.

"Know how to talk to someone about it. Let's stop HIV together," one student said.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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