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AIDING AIDS PREVENTION—From left: Kezia Ellison; Alex Matthews, Highmark; MaryAnn Papale, Highmark; and Albertha Graham-Ellison

As Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS Inc. (ETAH) completed its 15th year, it closed it out with  the Tenth Annual Red Ribbon Gala in observance of World AIDS Day. The HIV/AIDS infection rate statistics are very alarming:

•Every nine and a half minutes, a person in the U.S. is infected with HIV.

•50 percent of all new HIV infections occur in people under the age of 25.

•One in four American girls has a sexually transmitted disease.

•Girls represent 51 percent of the 15-19 year olds infected with HIV, and 65 percent of these girls are African-American.

•AIDS is the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34, and the second leading cause of death among Black men ages 35-44.

•Pennsylvania ranks 7th in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases.

 

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THE REMEMBRANCE QUILT included red ribbons in remembrance of those who died from AIDS. (Photos by J.L. Martello)

 

The statistics tell us that more must be done to address the increasing infection rates. In an effort to raise awareness and sponsorships, the ETAH board of directors held the gala.

The Gala took place Dec. 1 at the Omni William Penn Hotel, located at 530 William Penn Place, in downtown Pittsburgh.

Over the past fourteen years, Educating Teens About HIV/AIDS Inc. has worked tirelessly to focus on the issues confronting teenagers and convey the message that “HIV/AIDS is 100 percent Preventable.”

Early on, ETAH acknowledged that HIV/AIDS is not the problem.  It is the societal ills that confront youth; that are paramount in the increased risk of contracting and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.  ETAH uses a multi-disciplined approach for prevention education that addresses the social and cultural underpinnings of risky behavior, such as low self esteem, peer pressure, violence, drugs & alcohol abuse, economic hardships, health issues, and other societal ills.  We must use our combined expertise to help highlight the need for communities to address the concerns of our youth.

 

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KEZIA ELLISON, president and CEO of ETAH, speaking at the AIDS gala.

 

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ALBERTA GRAHAM-ELLISON ETAH Project Director

 

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DR. WILLIAM SIMMONS giving the invocation.

 

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ROBERT HILL giving his keynote address.

 

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YOUTH LEADER—Nijah Glenn, president of the youth board of directors, giving remarks on The Educating Teens Inc. program.

 

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