California: Black Women's Group to Offer Facts About HIV/AIDS
June 23, 2008
On Saturday, "Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS," was being held at the San Francisco Public Library on Larkin Street. Hosted by the Oakland chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the event included free and confidential rapid HIV testing and is part of a week of activities leading up to National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
"It's really about real talk -- what you don't want to think about and what you should," said Cathy Adams, the chapter's founding president.
Scheduled event topics included coping with a husband who has sex with other men on the "down low," HIV/AIDS stigma, and how parents can talk with their teens about sex.
"Some parents are not comfortable having open, candid conversations with their children," said Adams.
Featured speaker Desiree Rushing, 49, is not one of those parents. Diagnosed with HIV 17 years ago, she talked about the disease with her son, who is now 29 and a new father. "What you're hearing in the background is something I thought I'd never be able to have," said Rushing over the phone and cries of her grandchild. She was one of three Bay Area women featured in "Breaking the Silence," which was being shown at the symposium.
In 2006, the rate of HIV among black women was more than 19 times that of white women, according to CDC.
"We want a message to come through to say we cannot leave our sisters and brothers behind," Adams said.
Contra Costa Times
6.20.2008; Shauntel Lowe