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AIDS Still Affects Young People In Jacksonville; Awareness ‘Block Party’ Set For Friday

Lindsey Kilbride

Duval County has one of the highest rates of AIDS and HIV infection in the country. More than 6,000 people in Jacksonville are infected, and the number is growing. To combat the problem, a coalition of local agencies is throwing a Youth Block Party Friday at A. Philip Randolph Park.

On“First Coast Connect” Wednesday, Northeast Florida AIDS Network spokeswoman Katrina Odell said the goal is to inform those between the ages of 16 and 24, who often are grossly misinformed about AIDS.

“They believe it can be spread through saliva kissing and stuff like that, and that’s not the case, so they are very uneducated on how you can get the disease, and here at the Youth Block Party that’s what we’re wanting to do,” she said. “We are going to educate the children on the ways HIV can be spread as well as giving them more educational information about how to use condoms and how to protect themselves from this disease.”

The party will include free food and school supplies as well as HIV testing, music and information booths. The party will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s the first time the organizations have held such a fair, which they anticipate will become a yearly event.       

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.