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U.S. News

New York: Salons Promote Health Awareness

December 15, 2008

In Westchester County, Habib's Hair Salon on Main Street is one of several salons and barbershops in the region that are promoting safe sex and screening for HIV, heart disease and diabetes. Health brochures lay next to beauty magazines at Habib's, which is owned by Denise Johnson. In the bathroom, clients can access free condoms, and a mobile van was recently parked around the corner to offer rapid HIV tests administered by the Westchester Medical Center.

Outside of New York City, Westchester County has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any of the state's other 57 counties. In 2006, the county had 3,173 residents living with HIV/AIDS and a disproportionate number of them were African Americans.

"Denise is not only my beautician, she's my friend," said Beverly Alford, who gets her hair done weekly. "We talk about everything from shopping to television to politics to relationships here -- that's why it's the perfect place to talk about that stuff. It's less intimidating. It's not like going to the doctor's office."

That is the relationship and context that county health officials believe can be used to help raise public awareness. "The thing to remember is that HIV is a social problem with medical consequences," said Dr. Joshua Lipsman, the county health commissioner.

In addition to Habib's in New Rochelle, participating salons and barbershops are in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, White Plains, and Ossining. Health screenings for the initiative are also provided by Project WAVE, a coalition of agencies that offer free HIV testing.

Back to other news for December 2008

Adapted from:
Journal News (White Plains)
12.12.2008; Candice Ferrette

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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.
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