Local and Community News
Tennessee: Youths Get Hard Facts on AIDS -- Black Church Gets Down-to-Earth
March 14, 2003
About 300 youths attended a rally and forum on Saturday at the Golden Gate Full Gospel Baptist Church in Memphis. The event, sponsored by the African American Pastors Consortium on HIV and AIDS, a group of 40 churches, concluded the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS.Adapted from:
"We are providing education to help make people more knowledgeable concerning the disease itself, so that we know how to be more compassionate, to be more loving to these individuals," said the Rev. Melvin Lee, president and executive chair of the consortium. "As well, we are teaching individuals what is the behavior that leads to a person putting themselves in the position of being infected with the virus," he said. "The youth rally today is the biggest thing that we can do, and that is to start an effort on prevention."
At the rally, booths offered information from Girls Inc. of Memphis, Memphis HIV Family Care Network, Sacred Heart Southern Missions AIDS Ministry and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The booklets and stickers aimed at youths were straightforward. Their titles included "101 Ways to Avoid HIV," "Abstaining from Sex" and "My Brother Got AIDS."
"As an organization of pastors, our first lesson is abstinence, to do it the way God said it is to be done in his word," said Lee, also pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church-Hyde Park. "That we come together to express our sexuality in marriage, as God intended it to be. But we are not naïve, we know that some young people are going to want to try things, and so we provide the education to help them," he said. "If they come to us and say, 'Well, I'm sexually active, how can I keep myself from having HIV/AIDS,' then we have that conversation with them."
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)
03.09.03; Kevin McKenzie
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.