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HIV Awareness Week is on in Sudbury with the launch of Red Scarf campaign

Look for the red scarves downtown, at LU and in Memorial Park
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The red scarf campaign is part of HIV awareness week in Sudbury.  (Len Gillis / Sudbury.Com)

HIV Awareness Week is underway in Sudbury with the launch of the Red Scarf awareness campaign. The red scarves will be tied to trees and lamp posts around the downtown area, the University of Sudbury campus and in Memorial Park, where they are free. 

The scarves will be tagged with information cards revealing important facts about HIV to educate the public.

This is the 9th annual education and awareness campaign for Sudbury's Réseau ACCESS Network. The week wraps up on Dec. 1, which is observed as World AIDS Day. 

“This week is about sharing information with everyone”, said Heidi Eisenhauer, manager of Programs and Services at Réseau ACCESS Network.

“It is more vital than ever to ensure Canadians are made aware of the issues surrounding HIV.” 

In an effort to help educate Canadians about HIV, the Réseau ACCESS group will be actively sharing information and knowledge online to highlight updates in statistics, trends, treatments, testing, and help reduce stigma by discussing the impacts it has on the people living with HIV, said a news release from the organization.

“The campaign will be mostly digital this year”, said Eisenhauer. “COVID made us move most of the agency’s awareness efforts online but the agency plans to ‘Shine Some Light’ on HIV all week long.”

She added that the Shine Some Light campaign is a series of events, activities, and knowledge sharing that uses many platforms and the colour red to raise awareness and capture the attention of Sudburians. Area residents are also being invited to use social media in a local awareness contest  

Red lights will shine from Reseau’s new ground-floor space, highlighting the COVID-19 adapted service model. Red lights will help illuminate facts online and Réseau ACCESS is launching a new contest, called #ShineSomeLight on HIV. 

To participate, simply pull out your red lights, Christmas lights work well, decorate your space, and post it to social media using the hashtag #ShineSomeLight during HIV Awareness Week to show support and help raise even more awareness. Participants will have a chance to win a $250 gift card, said Réseau ACCESS.

Another event being held in conjunction with the awareness week is the Gay/Bi/MSM (men who have sex with men) Men’s Sexual Health Clinic. It will take place Nov. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Contact Anna at annay@reseauaccessnetwork.com to book your appointment.