Florida: Group Enlisting Churches in AIDS Battle
October 1, 2004
No Longer Bound is a nonprofit ministry of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church that provides youth services and an HIV/AIDS outreach, education and prevention program for under-served black people in Orlando. NLB scored a victory for AIDS awareness during a recent "It's Better to Know!" event when it brought in Bishop Samuel L. Green to take an HIV test in the church pulpit. The event was in partnership with the Healthcare Ministry of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Green is senior pastor.Adapted from:
"The response was unbelievable," said Fannie Walker Spivey, NLB's executive director, adding that the ministry ran out of HIV test kits.
The ministry also incorporates messages about HIV education and abstinence from unproductive and high-risk behaviors into its youth programs, said Spivey. Among its youth programs are the summer Youth Employment Services program for teens ages 14-17; a Juvenile Mentoring Program for youths ages 7-17; and an annual spring-break camp.
The HIV/AIDS education arm of the ministry received CDC funding in 1999 in response to the fast increase in the cases among blacks in the community. The Florida Department of Health's "Closing the Gap" program, individual and corporate donors, and county agencies also support NLB.
The incidence of reported HIV among blacks in Florida is still growing, with one in 46 blacks affected, said Spivey. Through June 30, blacks comprised 49 percent of Orange County cases, according to Florida Department of Health data. The number would be higher if it included the jail population, she said.
"Our goal is to get people to know their status early," said Spivey. "If they happen to be positive, we can get them into care and treatment so that they can live a longer and more productive life. It's better to know than not to know."
09.30.04; Debbie Barr
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.