An Armada to Fight AIDS in Rochester, N.Y.
November 12, 2009
Nearly two-dozen Rochester health, social service, and faith organizations have joined in a campaign to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and fight the disease among Latinos and African Americans.
On Nov. 21, the coalition will launch its efforts with "Hope Takes Action: A Road to Victory for Rochester," a community gathering with music, food, information, and advocacy. The free, public event is 4-8 p.m. at the Auditorium Theater.
More African Americans are getting screened for HIV, said Stephaun Clipper, prevention and programs manager with the Men of Color Health Awareness Center. However, racism, environmental factors, and economic disparities can stoke ambivalence about HIV/AIDS. "If I'm a person that feels I do not have the same access as the larger culture, I may not be as receptive," Clipper said.
Speaking basic Spanish is not enough to reach Latinos, said Adelik Rivera, a caseworker at McCree McCuller Wellness Center. "People come from many different countries where regional dialects are almost like different languages," she said. "The community is actually very open to talking about sex and sexual orientation. But we have to speak in plain and simple words."
For people having difficulty meeting their most basic needs, Rivera said, health issues, "of any kind, even HIV, are just not their highest priority." Undocumented workers "might come in for testing, but they may not give you accurate information," she said.
Another goal of the coalition is to inform high-risk minority communities about an HIV vaccine trial taking place at the University of Rochester. The Rochester Victory Alliance is seeking volunteers for the HVTN 505 study, which will examine new questions about how an HIV vaccine might work. "We need their help to map a way forward," said Dr. Michael Keefer, associate director of the trials.
City Newspaper (Rochester)
11.11.2009; Tim Louis Macaluso
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.