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We’re Coming to Atlanta!

FredwalkThis weekend, we’re headed to Atlanta to shoot the final installment of When Dogs Heal.

Out of U.S. cities, Atlanta has the fifth-highest rate of new HIV diagnoses, according to the Center for Disease Control.

While other HIV hot spots, like New York and Washington D.C., have pushed for more aggressive testing initiatives, there is still an overwhelming number of people who are turning up in Atlanta emergency rooms with other injuries and illnesses and are being tested there for the first time.

On average, it takes roughly eight to 10 years for untreated HIV to become AIDS; yet by the time patients are diagnosed in Atlanta, almost one-third have advanced to clinical AIDS.

Routine HIV testing is not offered in the places where most people get their health care.

Wendy Armstrong, the director of the Ponce de Leon Center, an AIDS care facility in Atlanta, told WABE: “Our massive group out there who are not tested are folks out there who often don’t have primary care physicians because they’re young, and no insurance if they they did wish to have a primary care physician.”

Stigma, extreme poverty, fear of a positive diagnosis, and even transportation are among the many factors that discourage people among this population from getting tested.

The result: An estimated 14 percent of people with HIV or AIDS in the U.S. do not know they’re infected.  

It’s time we changed that. And hopefully this weekend will be a start.

We look forward to meeting new people and hearing their inspiring stories, and we hope to get people talking about HIV and inspire others to get out and get tested.

If you or someone you know if from Atlanta and is interested in participating in the shoot, please contact us. Check out the details here.