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‘Riding for a Cure’ health fair slated for Saturday

ALBANY — The Southwest Public Health District HIV/AIDS Program is partnering with the Viper Unit Motorcycle Club to present “Riding for a Cure” on Saturday at the Dougherty County Health Department, officials with the health district say.

The free health fair is scheduled to kick off at the 1710 South Slappey Blvd. site at 10 a.m., with the motorcycle club lining up to begin their run at 11 a.m.

The event is being held just before National HIV Testing Day, which is Thursday, as a means to raise awareness on the disease and encourage people to get tested.

“The bike run will be a dramatic, powerful sight,” said Southwest Public Health District HIV/AIDS Program Manager Chanel Scott-Dixon said in a news release.

“We appreciate the Vipers joining us to help get our message out.”

The health fair will offer blood pressure screenings, weight screenings and vision screenings at no cost in addition to HIV tests.

There will also be a “Kiddie Korner” and face-painting, coordinators say.

“Riding for a Cure is a way to give back to the community,” said Club President Marvin Thomas in a statement. “We encourage people to come to the health department to take advantage of the many free services that will be available there from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.”

Community vendors are also expected to be on site issuing give-aways, coordinators say.

Public health officials say that populations in the area’s health district — specifically rural communities, women and African-Americans — are at particular risk for HIV infection.

“If you are in a high-risk group, we especially encourage you to take advantage of this free opportunity to get tested and educated,” Scott-Dixon said.

-“By coming to the health fair and getting a free, confidential test, you will be taking control of your health and your life.”

The Online Analytical Statistical Information System, an online database maintained by the Georgia Department of Public Health, shows that the health district had 32 deaths in 2011 associated with HIV/AIDS.

Of those, 14 deaths were in Dougherty County.

For more information on the event, call (229) 430-5140.