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Department of Social Work sponsors third annual World AIDS Day event Dec. 1

November 18, 2010 -- On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the ASU Department of Social Work is sponsoring its third World AIDS Day event, under the leadership of Dr. Patricia G. Walls, associate professor of Social Work. The site of the conference is the Mockingbird Room, Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, Jonesboro.  Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the conference itself begins at 9 a.m. No pre-registration is required.

The committee members for the conference this year are Ms. Peggy Wright, Geography, Dr. Loretta Brewer, associate professor of Social Work, and Dr. Beverly Edwards, assistant professor of Social Work. The keynote speaker is Dr. Carl Abraham, who practices infectious disease medicine and internal medicine in Jonesboro. Mr. Jim Reynolds, director of the Craighead County Health Department, will be on a panel of discussants, along with Ms. Debbie Biazo, director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional AIDS Network (NARAN). There will be free HIV testing between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Last year, faculty, staff, and students participated in the HIV testing component of the World AIDS Day conference. Dr. Walls hopes to provide the free testing opportunity to at least a hundred members of the ASU community this year. The Craighead County Health Department will be providing both the test kits to conduct the testing as well as the staff to conduct the pre-test and post-testing counseling. The test is a non-invasive procedure in which the cheek inside the mouth is gently swabbed. Testing is confidential, and the results are provided in a sensitive, supportive, and professional manner. Craighead County Health Department staff providing testing include Jim Reynolds, Jared Pulver, Michelle Williams, and Ryan Wooten.

A separate panel of student discussants will share the extent of their exposure to HIV prevention messages prior to ASU's World AIDS Day conferences. In addition to these panels, Dr. Walls and Patricia Minor, RN, director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission’s HIV/AIDS Outreach Initiative, will collaborate in a balloon release to take place in the Student Union Courtyard on the ASU campus. The ASU balloon release will occur simultaneously with balloon releases on the campuses of Blytheville High School, Osceola High School, Marked Tree High School, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campuses.  Mary Williams, MSW, will coordinate the release at Marked Tree High School, and Dr. Andrea Stewart and her Social Work organization will coordinate the balloon release at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

To round off the day, Dr. Walls plans a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Courtyard.
There will be on-site registration.
For further information, please contact Dr. Patricia G. Walls (, (870) 972-3297, or Dr. Beverly Edwards (, (870) 972-3987.

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