COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — ColGay Pride of Columbus Georgia, an LGBTQ organization, will hold its 9th annual World AIDS Day Rock the Ribbon Benefit event on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will take place at 1100 Broadway in Columbus.
Jeremy Hobbs, director and founder of ColGay Pride, said the purpose of the event is to raise awareness of HIV and promote HIV testing. He said the COVID-19 pandemic caused nonprofit organizations to do less HIV testing, causing people to either not get tested or go to their local health departments.
“With everybody coming to the health department, they do it by appointment only, now,” he said. “And it took a little bit longer.”
Hobbs said the situation is starting to improve.
“They’re able to do on-site testing events and everything again, now,” he said. “But there’s still a lot of people out there that just didn’t get tested, and as a result, just haven’t gone back. So we need to make sure that we emphasize on people getting back into the groove of getting tested every so often.”
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the event, there will be free HIV testing. Also from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., ColGay Pride will hold the Rock the Ribbon concert and drag show, both involving performers Sasha Allure and 2022 Mx. Columbus, Georgia Pride Kam Kam. There will also be guest speakers from Georgia Equality, Be Positive Atlanta and ColGay Pride.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., ColGay Pride will hold its 2022/2023 Mr./Ms./Mx. Muscogee County Pride Pageant.
“In the past, we’ve done it geared towards community service,” Hobbs said about the pageant. “Whatever they do, they’re supposed to create some sort of community service for people to take part in.”
Whoever wins the pageant this year will become an ambassador for HIV and AIDS education, prevention and testing and for linkage to care and overcoming stigma.
There will be music and dancing from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.