North Carolina: Barber Puts Shop on HIV-Prevention Front With Fast, Free Tests
February 23, 2007
Every Thursday, HIV tests are given in the back room of Kutz & Fades Unlimited Barbershop on Hillsborough's West Corbin Street. Up front, shop owner Melvin Jones clips and buzzes clients' hair. Jerry Pipoly, the Orange County Health Department's HIV counselor, administers rapid oral HIV tests, giving people their results in 20 minutes.
Three years ago, Jones was certified as an HIV peer counselor in the county's Project Courage HIV prevention program. His sister Kysha Thompson, who owns the connecting salon Diva Styles, now also wants to train to become a certified counselor.
"Anything to help the community," Jones said, pointing to a jar of free condoms by the door. "If you can be safe, take all you need." At his shop's old location, "Some ladies who did their thing -- walked the streets -- they would walk in and grab handfuls. I'm trying to get in touch with them again and let them know I've moved."
Of the 2,022 new HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed last year in North Carolina, two-thirds were African Americans.
News & Observer (Raleigh)
02.16.2007; Meiling Arounnarath