POSTED: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 6:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — With National HIV and AIDS Testing Day right around the corner, Volunteers of America partnered with HIV and AIDS Alliance for Region Two hosted their first "Brown Bag" seminar today.
Dozens of HIV advocates gathered at Eden Park Library for the first of seven seminars that help train HIV and AIDS educators to become more effective leaders in the community.
Today's seminar focused on reducing HIV infection and increasing treatment access. Dawn D. Collins, seminar committee member, said that preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS starts with leadership.
"If we don't build up leadership capacity around the issue of AIDS and AIDS advocacy, and AIDS awareness," Collins said. "It's very hard to address the issue, so it's extremely important that we do this."
Collins also said leaders do not have to exactly be community officials.
"When I say leadership. I don't just mean City Council or State Legislators," Collins said. "Leadership could be the lady next door in the community that gets people together in the neighborhood, and says she wants to help address that issue."
The next seminars in the series will be held on September 20th, December 20th, and January 17th. Mayor-President Kip Holden declared next Saturday, June 27th HIV testing day in the city.