LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Thursday marks the start of AVOL Kentucky’s annual signature event.
Dining Out for Life returns for another year. For the entire day Thursday, if you eat at select restaurants, you’ll pitch in to try to end HIV in Kentucky.
According to the Cabinet for Health & Family Services in Kentucky, more than 11,000 people were said to be living with HIV in the Commonwealth in 2022.
Events like Dining Out for Life not only raise money and awareness for the virus but also offer a chance for people to come together to help their fellow Kentuckians.
During the event, all you have to do is have a meal at one of the participating restaurants, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to AVOL.
55 restaurants in total will be taking part in the event, donating at least a quarter of their sales to the cause.
The money goes directly towards testing, medical care, support services, and education.
AVOL’s Executive Director, Jon Parker, says seeing so many people work together towards a common cause is what it’s all about.
“It’s always been amazing to me,” Parker explained. “The response that we get from what I consider to be our veteran restaurants. These folks have been on board with us since day one, Columbia’s, Third Street Stuff, and some real great entities out there that didn’t do a lot for the entire community, not just AVOL. They’re doing this year-round, and we think that the word of mouth throughout the restaurant community continues to draw more restaurants to us.”
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Parker says his favorite part of the event is the support shown for the HIV community every year.
It also serves as a reminder to get tested. Parker says roughly 1 in 7 Kentuckians are living with HIV, and don’t necessarily know they have it. Getting tested is quick and easy and takes roughly a minute. If you get tested at AVOL and it comes back negative, they’ll help you with ways to stay negative.
If you’re positive, they’ll put you in contact with the proper medical care that’ll allow you to live as long as someone who doesn’t have the virus.
“AVOL focuses is on housing because you can’t get well without a roof over your head,” Parker said. “So, we want to make sure people have stable housing, and people who are in care and in stable housing and have everything kind of their needs taken care of. It’s a condition where there’s so little virus in their body. It’s called undetectable, but they can’t give the virus to other people no matter what. So, there’s a preventive element to taking care of people and getting them connected to care.”
If you can’t make it out to a participating restaurant, you can donate to AVOL Kentucky and learn more here.