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For Immediate Release: Friday, June 11, 2021

In honor of Pride Month and National HIV Testing Day, the HIV/STI Program, part of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will host Pride in the Plaza, an outdoor LGBTQ+ health and wellness community resource fair from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 27.

Health officials will also launch “Do it For Montgomery County,” a comprehensive, inclusive LGBTQ+ sexual health campaign created as part of the County’s Plan to End HIV. This free event will open with a pride flag raising ceremony at Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring. Activities will conclude with an evening “Mini-Ball” voguing competition-in partnership with Speak Out & the Capitol Ballroom Council.

Pride in the Plaza will showcase a diverse cross-section of local non-profit organizations and artists tabling to share information about their services for Montgomery County’s LGBTQ+ communities. Music, dancing, and other interactive activities will take place and free, on-site HIV testing and prevention education will be available throughout the event.

LGBTQ+ communities in Montgomery County, particularly Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ communities, experience disproportionate impact from HIV. In response to community feedback, the County’s Plan to End HIV calls for the expansion of LGBTQ+ health resources in the County and improved HIV and sex education access for LGBTQ+ youth. Significant increases in HIV testing, treatment, and prevention are planned for a 90 percent reduction in new cases by 2030. The “Do it For Montgomery County” sexual health campaign features a new website, new social media platforms, bus, metro, and digital ads and includes multicultural, inclusive LGBTQ+ messaging on HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.

“Pride in the Plaza represents the County’s ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ health and wellness, said Melvin Cauthen, administrator for the HIV/STI program. “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first cases of HIV in the United States. LGBTQ+ health encompasses so much more than HIV, but this epidemic persisting over four decades with increasing disparities shows us the danger of a ‘one size fits all’ public health approach. We are committed to fighting HIV equitably.”

Veterans Plaza is located at 1 Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring.  Free parking is available in the Ellsworth Drive parking garage adjacent to the plaza.

The County’s HIV/STI program provides free HIV testing, free and low-cost HIV treatment, pre-exposure medication PrEP and STI testing and treatment at the Dennis Avenue Health Center. Call 240-777-1760 to make an appointment or visit for more information.

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Release ID: 21-460
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6507