CITY, ST (KPLC) - This afternoon an HIV/AIDS rally was held at the Foreman Reynaud Community Center to spread awareness about the virus.
"Over 1,192 individuals, just in Calcasieu Parish alone are living with the disease of either HIV or AIDS," said Dianna Ross, Community Outreach Coordinator for the SWLA Center for Health Services.
The numbers are staggering, but to those involved with this afternoon's awareness rally, the first way to combat the virus is to improve the community's understanding.
"The community awareness rally is educate, inspire and bring some awareness to HIV and AIDS in our community," said Debra Gyllory, the Social Services Coordinator for the SWLA Center for Health Services.
The afternoon was filled with prayer, informative guest speakers and inspirational music.
The purpose of events like today is to get the community educated, get tested, get involved and get treated, and the organizers say they hope to accomplish this one person at a time.
"If I can inform ten people today, they'll tell ten more tomorrow, and then that small step makes a bigger step for the community as a whole. That by teaching one you can teach and entire community and a nation things that would be better for them," said Dr. Gisele McKinney, a guest speaker at the rally.
The most important message the rally wanted to spread today is that there are people in the community that are open and willing to help anyone.
"Even if you think you've been infected, we have agencies in this city, in this community that will reach out a hand to you and help," said Ross.
And even as the rally concluded, the message of spreading HIV/AIDS awareness was just beginning.