TRURO - Breaking down barriers and shattering stereotypes related to sexual health are two reasons the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk For Life is vital to the community, says Eric Pace.
© Joey Smith - Truro Daily News
Eric Pace, summer student at the Northern AIDS Society in Truro, is encouraging the community to get involved with the upcoming Scotiabank AIDS Walk For Life, which will raise funds for the local society. Pace said sexual health is something that's relevant to everyone and there are still many stereotypes to shatter.
The Northern AIDS Society summer student is helping spread the word that the annual walk, which takes place in Truro's Victoria Square on Sept. 21, is important not only to raise funds for the non-profit society, but to deal with misconceptions and stigma that relate to sexual well-being and related diseases.
"In Truro when you start talking about sexual health, people shut down. There's an old stigma that's still there," said Pace. "A lot of people don't want to jump out of their comfort zone ... and it's sometimes hard to break down barriers."
Pace offered a personal example that not too long ago while still in school, he was told a person can contract AIDS simply by kissing. It's that kind of fear and misinformation that hurts a community, he said.
Regarding the Northern AIDS Society, which is based on Pleasant Street in Truro, Pace said it does much more than the community realizes. It provides education, organizes fairs, works in prisons, offers youth programming including anti-bullying and self-esteem sessions, undertakes campaigns and much more.
"People don't realize how much is done here ... that's the problem."
The walk in September will be the 15th annual event in Truro and the 25th yearly walk throughout Canada. Locally, it will begin with registration at 1 p.m., followed by the walk at 2 p.m. Participants will walk from the Victoria Square, near the Truro Welcome Centre, and make their way to the Kiwanis Pond and back to the square. While last year's event resulted in about $8,000 for the local AIDS society, this year's goal is $15,000, said Pace.
People are asked to get involved in the walk and to gather financial pledges beforehand. Pledge sheets can be found online at www.aidswalkforlife.ca or by stopping into the society's office at 33 Pleasant St. More information can be obtained by calling 895-0931.