Sat04192014

Greater Metro

Ryan White, local barber shop partner for National HIV Testing Day

The Memphis Ryan White Program and First Impressions Remix, a local barber shop, are teaming up to provide free HIV and syphilis testing.

Ryan White partnered with First Impressions Remix after Memphis Ryan White Program Director Dorcas Young met the owner of First Impressions Remix, Mario Taylor, at an event for testing certification.

"One of the best ways to encourage HIV/AIDS awareness is to meet individuals where they are and where they'll be open to learning," Young said. "Mario realizes this and the Memphis Ryan White Program is proud to partner with him and First Impressions Remix on this testing event."

In recognition of June 27's National HIV Testing Day, the barber shop will offer free HIV and complimentary syphilis testing on Saturday, June 23, to help raise awareness of the HIV problem that is affecting the area. There will be food and a live DJ outside the shop. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Impressions Remix at 1470 Elvis Presley Blvd.

"I have incorporated community involvement into my business plan," said Taylor. "So from that standpoint, community engagement is not optional; it's absolutely necessary, particularly on this epidemic facing Memphis."

First Impressions Remix is located on the corner of Elvis Presley and Kerr Avenue, in the heart of the Memphis community affected by the steep rise in new HIV and sexually transmitted disease cases. Inside the barbershop, there will be a condom demonstration as well as other educational information and giveaways that promote a safe-sex message.

This is First Impressions Remix's fourth year holding the event, and Ryan White's first year partnering with them to host the event. The Ryan White Program provides free services to those living with HIV/AIDS in the Memphis area. Last year, First Impressions Remix tested more than 300 people in the community and looks forward to the same success this year.

Additional sponsors for the event are CAAP Inc., CFS, Friends for Life, Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, PEAS Inc., Planned Parenthood, Project Hope, Shelby County Health Department, SMA, and The University of Memphis.

(Learn more about the Ryan White Program by visiting www.hiv ­memphis.org or by calling 877-HIV-KNOW (877-448-5669). This project is funded as a result of grant awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and Shelby County Government.)

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