In recognition of the national HIV and AIDS Awareness Week, eight hundred red scarves will be tied around posts and poles in Simocco County.
Gilbert Center Executive Director Jerry Kruau says there are many stigma and negatives around HIV and red scarves help to realize the disease that is now considered a chronic condition.
"Forty-seven percent of HIV infections are still among gay men or in the LGBTQ community," said Kroato. "It is important to keep this message and realize that they have to practice safer sex."
With approximately 150 clients, the Gilbert Center in Bari works with people who are HIV-positive, part of the trans-community as well as gay men who provide social services.
One customer is Randy Davis, who was diagnosed with HIV in February 2015. Davis says the medication he receives every day allows him to live his life at will.
– I take a pill, which is anti-viral therapy, which is called. One pill a day and that holds me tight, "said Davis," I get more vitamins every day than my anti-viral drugs "
The pill suppresses the level of the HIV virus in Davis's blood, making it undetectable and not sexually transmitted. He says the disease can be confusing, so he supports projects like the red scarf.
"These campaigns are extremely important to raise awareness (s) about educating people," Davis said. "This is fear and ignorance about HIV, which causes the stigma that really keeps people trying."
A big message with this year's campaign is for people to get tests and reduce risks. Choteau emphasizes to the public that HIV is considered a chronic disease and the more people realize, the healthier they will be.
"Knowing your status, not testing, is a risk," Krothea said. "You do not know that you may be HIV-positive for up to ten years before you know you're HIV positive."
According to Kroato, in the past anyone who has been diagnosed with HIV would have taken plenty of pills throughout the day. Today, one pill every day gives those who live with the disease a better look at life.
"Side effects are less toxic to the body," said Crowa. "People are more aware of healthier health, they exercise better, they have better diets, and it's more positive if you have a clue about the longevity of those." This is no longer a death sentence.
Red scarves will be thrown into communities within the Simou County, including Midland, Orillia and Bracebridge later this week.
World AIDS Day is December 1.