First HIV/AIDS Awareness Classic brings education and entertainment to the Big Bend
By Christopher Lampley
With the month of December being recognized as AIDS Awareness month, nothing seemed to be more fitting of an event than the First HIV/AIDS Awareness Classic.
Friday night at Amos P. Godby High School gymnasium, the FAMU High Baby Rattlers girls basketball team took on the Amos P. Godby High Lady Cougars.
In a night filled with transition layups, full-court defense, players shooting open threes and yelling coaches, fans were presented with numerous statistics throughout the night that highlighted national HIV/AIDS statistics, with a focus on the state of Florida.
The classic, which was sponsored by Big Bend Cares, carried the motto “Play with a Purpose” and that purpose was to shed light on a disease that is still prevalent in the Black community.
“This event was an amazing idea… sports is probably one of the biggest parts of Black culture and bringing education and entertainment together was a good idea,” Sha’Rae McDougald said.
McDougald has a child that attends FAMU High and said that she felt as if the event would be beneficial to everyone that attended.
As alarming as it is that the state of Florida leads the United States in new HIV/AIDS cases reported yearly, it was even more alarming to find out that African-Americans account for more than 45 percent of the newly reported cases.
“I was amazed at the facts presented throughout the night. I heard some things that were almost hard to believe… bringing awareness is the first step and hopefully that can lead to prevention,” McDougald added.
With most of the interesting facts presented during timeout breaks and halftime, fans were also presented with the opportunity to win prizes by entering a raffle.
“The statistics presented were eye-opening to say the least… I believe that if we actively pursue making everyone aware then we can see those numbers drop drastically,” James McRoy said.
McRoy, a consistent Godby High game-goer, believes that the awareness classic will continuously grow and expand in the area because HIV/AIDS are very interesting topics.
“I feel as if you can never do enough to make people aware of it (HIV/AIDS)… with all age groups present here tonight soaking in these statistics, hopefully positive change can come sooner than expected,” McRoy added.
The Baby Rattlers would go on to defeat the Lady Cougars by a final score of 73-28.
For more information regarding HIV/AIDS statistics, prevention, testing and consulting services visit BigBendCares.org