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AIDS Coalition holding pancake breakfast fundraiser this weekend

Staff Writer | April 9, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - The North Idaho AIDS Coalition is holding a pancake breakfast fundraiser this weekend in Coeur d'Alene.

The pancake breakfast fundraiser takes place from 8 to 10 a.m. at Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 280 W. Hanley Avenue.

Tickets are $7, and can be purchased at the door or by calling NIAC, 665-1448.

The community-based nonprofit is the only agency providing care, prevention and advocacy to those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in Idaho's five northern counties.

NIAC serves a caseload of 50 people who are HIV positive, some living with AIDS.

"That doesn't seem like a big number, but those are just the people who are seeking services," said NIAC director Dani Clarkson. "It's kind of taken a back burner lately, but it's still a huge issue. Bringing HIV back into people's awareness is important."

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare statistics show at the end of last year there were 67 people diagnosed with HIV living in North Idaho, and another 77 persons living with AIDS.

"We're sure there are many more who are not aware they have it," said Cynthia Taggart, spokesperson for Panhandle Health District.

HIV is one of the most under reported reportable diseases in the nation, Taggart said.

Proceeds from the breakfast will be used to help pay for community education and awareness programs, HIV testing, transportation and medication costs for NIAC clients.

Clarkson said NIAC's patient profile includes an even mix of gay men, women, heterosexual males and IV drug users from all financial backgrounds.

"HIV does not discriminate. Our demographic really proves that," Clarkson said.

Medication alone costs HIV patients anywhere from $800 to $3,000 per month.

"Even if people are insured, they usually still need some sort of financial help," Clarkson said.

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