Florida: HIV Test Sites Fan Out to Everyday Places People Go
July 2, 2008
In what was called the most ambitious such effort locally to date, volunteers and health workers were staffing 32 Palm Beach County locations on Friday, which was designated as National HIV Testing Day. These included parks, apartment complexes, sports bars, fire stations, and churches as well as health departments and clinics.
The effort involved more churches than ever before. While some have noted that faith communities have been reluctant to join the fight against HIV/AIDS, Pastor Tony Drayton is among a growing number of ministers becoming active in the effort. "We say 'these people' or 'those people,'" said the pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church. "It's not these or those. It's us."
Nineteen of Drayton's parishioners have completed the training necessary to become state-certified HIV testers and will offer the service wherever they can. In addition, Drayton recently authored a book, "Transformation and the Church: A Push Toward Acceptance Within the HIV/AIDS Pandemic."
More than 7,300 Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast residents are living with HIV. Over 40 percent of them had the virus for 10 years before being diagnosed and progressed to AIDS within one year of learning they were HIV-positive. An estimated 2,000 county residents are believed to be infected but have not been diagnosed.
Palm Beach Post
6.26.2008; Antigone Barton
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.