Next Thursday Paducah's Heartland CARES, HIV/AIDS care, prevention and community awareness, celebrates its mission and successes with its 4th SpringTINI. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte gets a preview of the Market House Square event from Heartland CARES Executive Director Andrew Halford and learns why this non-profit organization keeps a low profile.
Andrew Halford says the SpringTINI features eight signature hand-crafted martinis from participating restaurants. The recipes and judges are a secret, but the common ingredient is Skyy brand vodka. Tickets are $50, which includes samples of the martinis, appetizers, entertainment (from Nathan Lynn and Donovan Woods). The event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 7 in downtown Paducah's Market House Square.
Proceeds go to Heartland CARES, whose mission is to serve the Purchase, Pennyrile and Southernmost Illinois. They deliver holistic healthcare to people living with HIV and AIDS. Halford says there's an incredible success rate when it comes to viral load suppression: 87%, whereas the national average is 73%.
He says more outreach and awareness is needed to reduce the stigma attached to people living with HIV/AIDS, adding that it's the nonprofit no one really wants to talk about. It's not just the sexual stigma, but also the one related to drug use. Halford says this is a socio-economically diverse group of people living in the community who have otherwise normal lives and are productive citizens. They need our support, not discrimination, he says. Because of this, and at the request of clients, they keep a low profile, such as not disclosing their location.