Pride Flag Hoisted in Downtown Silver Spring Sunday

For the third time this month, a Pride flag was raised Sunday by Montgomery County officials. County Executive Marc Elrich, Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles, Councilmember Will Jawando, Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart and Maryland Delegate Lorig Charkoudian joined other officials to raise a pride flag at Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring.

Pride in the Plaza ran from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and featured a health and wellness resource fair, dancing and plenty of colorful outfits. But the focus of the June 27 event was to offer HIV testing and to focus efforts on ending HIV in the county by 2030. Many of the tables that were staffed by various LGBTQ and health organizations were handing out condoms along with literature about HIV and free tote bags and T-shirts.


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“This is doable,” Elrich said. He noted that one in seven people have HIV and do not even know it. “HIV treatment is free or at low cost to all Montgomery County residents,” he said.

Jawando urged everyone to get tested, saying, “Do it for yourself. Do it for your county.” It is important to demystify and destigmatize the disease, he said.

Gayles noted that the number of people with HIV in the county is decreasing, but the rates are higher in communities of color.

The event marked the county’s official launch of Do It For You, its sexual health campaign.

As of December 2020, approximately 3,544 people in the county are living with diagnosed HIV. In 2019, there were 135 new cases diagnosed, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, which sponsored Pride in the Plaza.

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