The Bergen/Passaic Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women partnered with Teaneck High School’s FORUM to sponsor an HIV/AIDS awareness event, the Red Ribbon Forum, timed to coincide with World AIDS Day. The occasion, which drew 45 adolescent participants, consisted of a presentation by an HIV-infected individual, a performance by a teen theater group, and a question-and-answer session with the health committee of the local chapter of 100 Black Women. Key messages emphasized the importance of early detection in HIV prevention and advances in effective treatment for HIV-infected persons.
Keynote speaker Lolisa Gibson contracted HIV/AIDS from her mother, and was diagnosed at 17 with HIV. The treatment that she receives for HIV has prevented her 3-year-old son and her fiancée from becoming infected with HIV, declared Gibson. Sponsors of the event cited fear as a factor that deters individuals from having HIV testing and learning their status.