For the past three days people in Eden have had a chance to win a surfboard as part of a program raising awareness surrounding the HIV/AIDS virus.
Grand Pacific Health, Wandarma and Southern NSW Local Health District have teamed up to bring the Red Ribbon Surfboard on a two-week tour of the Bega Valley.
Now in its sixth year of touring, this is the first time the surfboard has come to the Far South Coast.
Health Promotion and Youth Health Officer with Grand Pacific Health Liz Scott said the timing couldn’t be better with the recent announcement that AIDS is no longer an epidemic in Australia.
Australia has joined the few nations in the world to have beaten the syndrome.
Ms Scott said the number of annual cases of AIDS diagnoses is now so small, top researchers have declared the public health issue to be over.
“But this doesn’t mean that people can just forget about it,” Ms Scott said. “Australia has been at the forefront of research, treatment and prevention of AIDS for many years and a huge part of that is sexual health education.”
Ms Scott will be running a sexual health and blood awareness workshop with sexual health nurse Fiona McKenna for youth at Campbell Page.
“It’s not just sexual health and HIV that’s important, we are hoping to teach kids about blood born diseases the risks of sharing razors and unsafe tattooing and piercing practices.”
Eden Library’s Zanette Burr said there have been a number of teenagers interested in the board.
“Personally I think this campaign is fantastic, in the 70s there were ads on tv that were frightening, but this board isn’t terrifying and I think it shows we are in a better place now,” Ms Burr said.
The surfboard was at Eden Library on July 12-13; at Campbell Page today, July 14; Tura Library July 15-17; Bega Library July 18-19; BVMP Teen Clinic July 19; Women’s Resource Centre July 20 and Sapphire Marketplace from 2pm-4.30pm on July 21.
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