Local and Community News
Tennessee: Big One-Day Drive Tests for HIV
June 26, 2003
The Mid-South's most ambitious AIDS screening effort kicks off in Tennessee Friday with free tests available at 15 churches, community centers, bars and clinics in Shelby, DeSoto and Crittenden counties. The testing blitz is part of a national effort to reach the estimated 250,000 Americans that public health officials believe do not realize they are HIV-infected. This Friday, National HIV Testing Day, comes as the epidemic continues to evolve from a disease of gay white men to a disease of African Americans, females and heterosexuals.
In Shelby County, bisexual men are fueling the spread among African-American women, said Vincent Glover, manager of the local Health Department's infectious disease section. "A lot of women incorrectly believe that if men haven't been incarcerated they are safe," he said.
Len Piechowski, Friends for Life program management director, said many are still reluctant to be tested. "The disease still has such a terrible stigma associated with it. Many people would still just rather not know," said Piechowski.
"We cannot heal ourselves until we know who is sick," said Sharron Moore-Edwards, with Project HIV/AIDS Outreach, Prevention and Education (HOPE) of St. Andrews AME Church. She said church members support the effort, which includes afternoon and evening visits to neighborhood barber and beauty shops to talk about the disease and how it is spread.
On Friday, Moore-Edwards said St. Andrews will offer testing at its Community Life Center, located at the intersection of Gaither Parkway and Kerr Avenue. The event will include an obstacle course, free barbecue sandwiches for those getting tested, and transportation to the site. Participants will be directed to return in two weeks for test results.
Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
06.25.03; Mary Powers
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.