Public invited to free health fair at Turner Lake

COVINGTON - The Centers for Disease Control and American Red Cross are sponsoring a free health fair for the community from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday at Turner Lake Complex, located at 6185 Turner Lake Road.

Information about HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis, cancers, STDs and heart disease will be available.

"These diseases that are listed, they are killers in our community," said Debra Banks, programs coordinator for the Newton County Recreation Commission, which is hosting the event. "They're plaguing our community and they continue to spread ... the CDC and American Red Cross feel it's important to reach out to communities such as ourselves to give us the same information and same access to information," as those in bigger cities have.

Lectures and question-and-answer sessions on various health issues will be held at the health fair. Those attending will also have the chance to ask questions of health care professionals in private.

Rapid testing for HIV will be available.

Flu shots will be offered by the Newton County Health Department at a cost of $20. Medicare and Medicaid will be accepted. The Health Department will also provide information on various services it offers.

"We have a tendency when we don't live in the metro area to think that we're shielded, and we're not," Banks said, referring to diseases like HIV/AIDS. "We don't want to scare people, but at the same time, we just want people to be aware ... it's the kind of information that everybody needs to hear."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@hotmail.com.