CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A county commissioner is taking a passionate stand, hoping to help get rid of the stigma she says surrounds HIV/AIDS.
Vilma Leake said she lost her son, George Leake to aids in 1994. He was just 28-years-old.
Two decades later, she says there is still a stigma attached with the illness.
She helped kick off the first of three community forums Thursday night, raising awareness about local resources available. Together with the Health Department and the HIV/AIDS Coalition, Leakes hopes people will feel comfortable reaching out for help.
"You are accepted, you are being provided with support, with a support group that you will not be isolated in this process and to have the freedom to continue your life as you have lived it," Leake said of her hope for the forums. The events are free and open to the public.
- Thursday, Feb. 6, 5-7 p.m. - Hickory Grove Recreation Center in Hickory Grove Elementary School, 6709 Pence Road
- Thursday, Feb. 13, 5-7 p.m. - Naomi Drenan Recreation Center, 750 Beale St.
- ·Thursday, Feb. 20, 5-7 p.m. - Clanton Pavilion, 3132 Manchester Drive