Florida: War on AIDS Joined by Churches
June 26, 2006
Yesterday, 15 Broward churches gave free HIV tests to anyone who wanted them after the sermons. "Most people go to church for spirituality and healing. What better place to bring it," said Gloria Scott of the nonprofit Churches United to Stop HIV (CUSH), which consists of 60 churches in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties. Scott, who works for the Broward County Health Department, administered tests to 11 people in a private room at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church in Oakland Park.
According to the health department, some 100 new cases of HIV and AIDS are reported in Broward County each month. In 2004, CDC reported that Fort Lauderdale led the nation in new cases in a major metropolitan area.
Harris Pastor Jim Brown said HIV/AIDS stigma is changing, but not enough. "In too many places, we treat HIV and AIDS like it's some kind of sin," he said, "instead of a disease. That's part of what we are trying to change."
Harris Chapel has a health and wellness ministry, and a counselor to help patients. "We have to get the word out to all populations. We have to keep pushing abstinence and safe behavior," said counselor Dennis Jackson.
Scott arranges lectures on HIV/AIDS at local churches for youth and young adults. "Take the test today, so you know the future of tomorrow," Scott said.
06.26.2006; Shannon Pease
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.