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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

TENNESSEE: Houses of Worship Called to Serve Those with HIV/AIDS




 

Commercial Appeal (Memphis) (12.03.11) - Thursday, January

"[Nicole] is a business owner and minister living in Shelby County with HIV. She was sexually assaulted 17 years ago by an acquaintance. Had a friend not informed her of the Memphis Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, she might never have sought treatment for her disease. Instead, Nicole was able to cope with her diagnosis and receive the necessary medical, nutritional, and emotional assistance to live each day to the fullest.

"Today, Nicole is lending her face and testimonial to the Memphis program's 'Know Now. Live Longer.' campaign, which promotes free HIV/AIDS services to residents of Shelby and other Memphis-area counties who cannot afford care or don't know where to turn. ...

"It is time that we, as members of a caring and issues-based faith community, confront the reality that HIV is a part of this community (especially among our minority populations). We have a responsibility to recognize this disease and offer our assistance to those living with HIV/AIDS, just as we would to our brothers and sisters living with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. ...

"Unfortunately, many people in our community ignore their HIV status out of fear that it is a death sentence or because of the stigma too often associated with it. We have the opportunity to fulfill our call, serve those in need, break the stigma, and open the door to share a message of hope as part of our spiritual family. ...

"The first thing we must do is welcome individuals living with HIV into our thoughts and prayers. We must take care of one another. Starting with each of our congregations, we can begin to dispel the negative stigma surrounding HIV, get educated, and help inform the community of the 'Know Now. Live Longer.' campaign and the services available to those living with this disease. As we work together to help fight HIV in Memphis, we can learn more by visiting www.hivmemphis.org." The author is pastor at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis and co-chair of the Memphis Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Planning Council.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in January 12, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.