Family Services of Westchester and Livable Communities Host Health and Wellness Symposium in Mount Vernon on HIV/AIDS

April 7, 2011

Neighborhood Support Emphasized at April 19 Event at Methodist Church 

MOUNT VERNON, NY – With a population of 1.35 million and nearly 5, 000 living with HIV/AIDS (including 759 in prison), the Lower Hudson Valley Region has the highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS cases in the state outside of  New York City.   The percentage of AIDS diagnoses among those 30 to 39 and over 60 is significantly higher than the state average, approximately 8 percent and 4 percent higher respectively. The percentage of women living with HIV/AIDS in the Lower Hudson Valley region is nearly 6 percent higher than the state average.

Family Services of Westchester and Livable Communities of Mount Vernon is hosting an Intergenerational and Interfaith Health and Wellness Symposium on HIV/AIDS on April 19 from 12:30 to 5 pm at First United Methodist Church at 227 East Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon.

“This symposium is open to the entire community,” notes Jean Williams, Mount Vernon District Administrator of Family Services of Westchester and Regional Coordinator for South Central Region of Livable Communities.  “We hope neighbors will talk with each other, offer support around the issues of HIV/AIDS and work together to decrease the stigma of the disease,” adds Williams.

Certain demographic groups will be emphasized in the symposium, including senior citizens, youth, members of faith-based organizations and the LGBT community.

Founded in 1954, Family Services of Westchester runs more than 50 social service programs that benefit 30,000 people each year. Since 1994, FSW has run Partnership for Care, a network of five programs providing medical case management and therapy to 400 individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Camp Viva, one of these programs, has been offering a one-week sleep-away experience to approximately 100 campers each summer for the past 15 years. Another initiative called Living Together provides biweekly support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS and monthly advocacy meetings for service providers. To learn more about the FSW’s mission and programs, check out the website www.fsw.org.

Established in 2008, Livable Communities is a connection of villages throughout Westchester that works together to ensure that older adults age comfortably and safely in their neighborhoods. The group advocates for affordable, safe housing, accessible transportation and ample public space and community centers for all community residents. To learn more about the symposium or Livable Communities, e-mail Jean Williams at jwilliams@fsw.org or phone (914) 668-9124.