An HIV awareness meeting will be hosted by the Central Alabama Alliance, Resource & Advocacy Center from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka.

“Most everyone I speak to in communities have a story about HIV that they are afraid to share because of stigma associated with the disease,” CAARAC executive director Shakita B. Jones said. “The time is now to end HIV stigma. If we want to decrease HIV rates and demonstrate that we are a beloved community, we must start having conversations about HIV stigma and show that we can love everyone unconditionally.” 

The CAARAC was established in 2010 to promote hope, tolerance, social and economic justice for all people affected by HIV/AIDS. The group’s goal is to bring HIV awareness to the community by continuing an anti-stigma campaign called “Because I Love You.” A digital billboard with the anti-HIV stigma message has been visible in Wetumpka since December and a new graphic will be released at Saturday’s meeting.

The church is located at 100 West Bridge St. in Wetumpka. The event will include light refreshments and conversations with HIV educators and intimate partner violence advocates. This event is free and open to the public.