ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Community partners are teaching college students about making healthier choices, whether it's wellness, drugs and alcohol or sex.
Pheobe's Network of Trust and Albany State University's project S.T.O.P put together a wellness fair Wednesday at Darton State College.
"Georgia is an issue. When it comes to STD's and stuff it is really a mecca of it," said Darton State College freshman Kamree Dixon.
It is no secret that HIV and AIDS is a growing problem in our region.
"But that's the reality of so many people here though," said Dixon.
Albany State University was one of 35 communities in the US that received a grant for $755,000 over three years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to help decrease the numbers of cases because the community has a disproportionate share of minority HIV cases.
"You got a lot of college kids, high school kids, even down to middle school children that are HIV positive and they are totally unaware," said SOWEGA Public Health HIV prevention coordinator Trayce Mcvay.
Studies have found that 18 to 24 year olds are at the highest risk.
"Today we are focusing on college students because they are at a time in thief life when they need to really look at a decision that could change their life," said Phoebe's Network of Trust School Health Program Director Angie Barber.
That is why Albany State University and Phoebe's Network of Trust paired up to put on this event today.
"These are everyday decisions that they should be making," said Barber.
Students could go through the "maze" to learn about HIV, making healthy decisions, pregnancy, and peer pressure.
"I try to reach those populations that are not normally or traditionally going to go into a health department or clinic to be tested," said Mcvay.
At the end of the maze they could graduate.
"This may be a game here in this room but there is a real reality out there that this could possibly happen to you," said Dixon.
"If we can keep our younger people, just our community safe it just trickles down to the whole community being safer," said Mcvay.
Organizers say they were impressed with the number of students who took part in Wednesday's event.