KCUR News (Kansas City) (02.08.10) - Wednesday, February 10,
Through February, about 30 churches in the Kansas City area
will participate in events tied to increasing HIV/AIDS
awareness in the African-American community. African Americans
make up only about 13 percent of the area's population, but
almost half of new HIV diagnoses, according to the local
"In Kansas City, there are 4,617 individuals living with HIV
or AIDS. Nearly 39 percent of these are racial minorities and
18 percent are women," said the Rev. Arthur Carter of Ebenezer
African Methodist Episcopal Church. "Seventy-six percent of
all women infected with HIV/AIDS in Kansas City are black
women," said Carter, who led the first of four Wednesday
evening services devoted to the disease.
"We are witnessing the destruction of human life in our own
communities," congregants said during a responsive reading.
"Let us join hearts with the faith community in prayer, in
spirit, and in action, to let our brothers and sisters living
with HIV/AIDS in Kansas City know that God loves them and so
An attendee disclosed her positive serostatus for the first
time, and she encouraged other people at the event to get
"Back in the old days, if we put an AIDS ribbon on it and said
anything about AIDS, you could guarantee that the church
wouldn't show up," said the Rev. Eric Williams, who has been
involved with HIV/AIDS initiatives for more than a decade.
Not nearly enough has been done to address the epidemic in the
black community, Williams said. And with the disease's
increasing association with poverty, it is not getting the
attention it once did, he added.