February 22, 2010
Houston TX -- The estimated rate of HIV occurrence in Houston is almost two times the national rate of new infections, with Black American's accounting for over half of new infections. To help curb these numbers the Black AIDS Institute -- the nation's only HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people -- is bringing its latest initiative to Houston.
Trump AIDS is a unique national campaign that combines the traditional Black pastime of bid whist -- a popular card game among Black Americans aged 40-plus -- with community health outreach efforts designed to help educate an often overlooked HIV/AIDS demographic. Backed by the Houston Sun, Rolling Out Magazine, DSHSHIVSTD program, St Hope Foundation, Bee Busy, Inc. and other local organizations, Trump AIDS also helps raise money to fight the disease in Black communities.
The program launched in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15th and is now heading to Houston, Texas, beginning February 26th at the SRO Sports Bar & Café, 444 Northwest Mall, 9800 Hempstead Road. For a complete list of cities hosting events and to register, please visit TrumpAIDS.org.
"AIDS does not only affect a select demographic such as youth, women or gay men," says actor and AIDS activist Danny Glover, who is a celebrity co-chair of Trump AIDS. "It affects all groups of people. That is why Trump AIDS is such an important campaign for Black people to support and participate in." Jackée Harry, the other celebrity co-chair, adds, "We must unite as a community -- for the sake of our community. To do nothing is to be part of the problem."
"I am thrilled to have Trump AIDS and the Health Fair in Houston because I think the tournament is unique in that it's targeting African Americans, many of whom believe they are immune to HIV," says Norman Mitchell, CEO of Bee Busy, Inc. "I think this event is an excellent way to help change that," he adds.
Jeffrey Campbell with the St. Hope Foundation, Inc. echoes Mr. Mitchell's sentiments. He says, "Trump AIDS is a great idea! Houston has a large number of Bid Whist players who I think will be open to getting tested and receiving information because it's a part of a game that they love so much."
The health fair features free onsite HIV testing for all tournament attendees, players and guests. All are welcome to participate.
The winner of the Houston tournament automatically qualifies for the national tournament to be held in Las Vegas in November, and a chance to win $45,000.00 in prizes. Other participants are able to qualify for the national tournament and have their travel expenses to Las Vegas paid by raising $3,000.00. The participants who raise the most money will join Jackee Harry, Danny Glover and others in a celebrity Bid Whist tournament.
"Rates of HIV in persons over 50 years of age are 12 times higher among African Americans than among whites," according to Timothy G. Heckman, Ph.D. "Older people do not consider themselves at risk. Physicians rarely talk to older patients about sex or other risk behaviors."
"Trump AIDS is an unprecedented event that will provide Black people who are not actively engaged in the HIV battle with access to important health information," says Black AIDS Institute COO Aron Myers. "This is a tremendous opportunity for the Atlanta community and good citizenship for all."
"There's no way to end the AIDS epidemic in Black communities without targeting this population," adds Black AIDS Institute founder and CEO Phill Wilson. "The Black AIDS Institute has spent the last decade meeting Black folks where they are. Trump AIDS is a perfect example of identifying an indigenous pastime in our community and using it to deliver culturally effective messaging. Everything about this effort, from the date and city where we launched the campaign, to its celebrity co-chairs -- Danny Glover and Jackée Harry -- celebrate the Black experience."
Participants will be encouraged to get involved in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic in the Black community while having fun and potentially winning prizes.