Health group, complex unite to fight AIDS-HIV

The Minority Alliance for Advocating Community Awareness and Gateway at Seminole Suites are collaborating in an effort to help spread HIV awareness throughout Tallahassee.

MAACA and Gateway at Seminole Suites located on Jackson Bluff Road will provide free HIV testing and counseling to anyone seeking the service.

Screenings will be held every first and third Wednesday throughout the 2008-2009 school terms and takes only five-minutes. They will consist of an oral swab test and a series of questions.

Niya Hubbard, Lead Health Educator for MAACA, said the effort began when a member of the housing community reached out to the organization for what was originally a one-time event.

“An employee at Gateway at Seminole Suites, used to volunteer for MAACA, and put me in touch with the leasing director,” Hubbard said. “I was asked to participate in a free HIV screening being held at the property back in August. After that I decided I wanted to come back, every so often throughout the year.”

This is the first time in either organization’s short histories, where an alliance of this sort has been formed.

“We always host pool parties and barbecues, or things like that to show resident appreciation,” said Calvin Burney, leasing director at Gateway at Seminole Suites. “It feels good to show appreciation through community service though. It sets us apart from other properties.”

The MAACA started as the Minority Aids Action Committee in October of 1999. Executive Director of MAACA, Sylvia Hubbard said the organization started out of a growing concern about HIV/AIDS in the African-American community.

“MAACA is true to its mission in helping to empower the minority community with HIV/AIDS prevention education, abstinence education, job placement for inmates leaving jail and job placement for individuals with disabilities,” Hubbard said.

The organization continues to extend its services throughout Leon, Gadsden and Jefferson County.

MAACA offices are located at 1720 S. Gadsden St. For more information on MAACA events contact the office at (850) 942- 6222, or visit the website at