December 8, 2006
In predominantly black metropolitan areas such as Washington and Detroit, HIV/AIDS' impact is high. "Our real issue is that it's spreading at an alarming rate in the black community while other communities have been successful in abating it," said the Rev. Horace Sheffield, a Detroit activist who recently launched a local chapter of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.
Sheffield is working with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to encourage city churches to tackle HIV testing with the same commitment many bring to screening for diabetes and high blood pressure. But obstacles to mobilizing the black community against HIV/AIDS abound. Among them are:
"The current state of affairs in the African-American community for HIV infection and AIDS is staggering," Kilpatrick said recently. "Two things need to be done. We need to start talking about it, from the kitchen table to the pulpit and we need to know ourselves, accept ourselves and get comfortable with ourselves and each other, so we can make better progress against the transmission of HIV and AIDS."