Local and Community News
Ohio: Rally Aims to Raise Awareness of AIDS in Black Community
March 10, 2003
Community members who gathered Saturday at the Blackburn Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio, were entertained with balloons, coloring books and face-painting, but the message they took home was a sober one: HIV/AIDS is devastating the black community.Adapted from:
"It is the No. 1 killer of African-Americans age 25 to 44, men and women," Columbus City Councilmember Charleta Tavares told the approximately 150 people in attendance.
The event followed a week of prayer at many area black churches; Delta Sigma Theta, a worldwide service organization, sponsored the rally. "It's growing rapidly through our children," said Regina Harper, president of the organization's Columbus chapter. Similar events were held worldwide by more than 900 chapters, she said.
In Franklin County, HIV/AIDS cases among women have tripled in the past decade, and most of those affected are black. HIV is 11 times more common in Ohio black women than in Ohio white women, according to the state Department of Health. Money raised at the event will be donated to a UNICEF relief fund that helps African AIDS orphans.
Tavares, who chairs the council's Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, was blunt in her remarks, noting that she has lost two relatives to AIDS. She admonished young teens to abstain from sex and told adults not to have sex outside marriage. She told participants to avoid illegal drugs and never share needles. And she added that condoms are the best defense against STDs and early pregnancy.
The Columbus Health Department provided oral HIV tests. The painless test takes about two minutes, and results are delivered in person in about a week. Department personnel also counsel those who get tested.
03.09.03; Bruce Cadwallader
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.