Sampson County AIDS Task Force observing World AIDS Day

By: By Chase Jordan -

Sampson County HIV/AIDS Task Force is inviting the community to fight against a disease affecting more than 36 million people worldwide.

The organization is observing World AIDS Day at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, on the steps of the Sampson County Courthouse, 101 Main St., Clinton. Its purpose is to show support for patients living with the disease. During the event, participants will make remarks, sing and light candles.

World AIDS Day is the first global health day and was first observed in 1988. Through the initiative and other events throughout the year, task force members also works to provide education.

“We definitely need to continue to remind people about it,” said Task Force member Nettie Wilson-Pernell. “We invite the public to come out and recognize World AIDS Day.”

AIDS weakens the immune system and gradually destroys the body’s ability to fight infections. It’s caused by HIV, which is spread through sexual contact, contaminated needles or syringes from drug use; infected blood or blood products; and from infected mothers feeding babies through breast-feeding. Since the 1980s, more than 35 million people have died from it and according to officials it’s one of the biggest pandemics in history. Through research and scientific advances there’s been many advancements when it comes to HIV treatment.

Another goal is to fight prejudice and stigmas. For 2017 the anti-stigma campaign on social media is “#LetsEndIt.” During related events, Chairman Thomas McLaughlin Jr. spreads messages of hopes and shares his story about being a survivor.

“We would love to have the support of everyone,” McLaughlin said. “Everyone is effected or affected by this disease. It’s always new knowledge coming out and we want everyone to be informed about.“

Chairman Thomas McLaughlin Jr. leads a ceremony hosted by the Sampson County HIV/AIDS Task Force. Thomas McLaughlin Jr. leads a ceremony hosted by the Sampson County HIV/AIDS Task Force.

By Chase Jordan