Florida: Black Women Fight AIDS
June 18, 2008
In Florida, African-American women are 17 times more likely to be infected with HIV compared to white women. Fifty-four percent of Floridians with AIDS are black, and nearly a third are women.
In response, the state is sponsoring its first-ever conference aimed at reducing the impact of the disease on black women. The three-day "S.O.S.: Sistas Organizing to Survive" conference begins Friday in Orlando. More than 600 women are expected to attend.
"We want to make the point that black women are in crisis and need help," said Ronald Henderson, statewide minority AIDS coordinator with the Florida Department of Health. "We want to educate women so they can go back and educate women in their communities."
Conference attendees will be urged to get tested for HIV, then return home and persuade other women to do so as well. They will have a slogan, "ask me about the pledge," to encourage conversation. The state hopes the meeting will result in an additional 20,000 black women getting tested for HIV this year.
Ann Sherman-White, prevention and testing coordinator for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, said prevention efforts among black women must tackle the strong stigma surrounding HIV in the community. "It's like years ago, when people were so secretive about having cancer," she said.
St. Petersburg Times
6.15.2008; Lisa Greene
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.