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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
FLORIDA: Book Gives Those Affected by HIV/AIDS an Emotional
Erika Pesantes
July 2, 2009
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (06.27.09) - Thursday, July 02,

An anthology published by the Palm Beach County Health Department is helping raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the black community, one of the groups hit hardest by the disease.

Twenty-five contributors created essays, photos, and poems for "Unleashed Voices: Silence is Death," which was edited by Lorenzo Robertson, PBCHD's regional minority HIV/AIDS coordinator. The department printed 1,000 copies and is offering them free to the public, including through the county library system.

"It's extremely important that we keep other generations safe from HIV," said Robertson, who is also the state health department's coordinator for sexual health among black men who have sex with men. Diagnosed with HIV in 1997 after being infected through unprotected sex, Robertson said he refuses to remain silent and is channeling his energies into advocacy.

"I did the most gut-wrenching thing and it was to write exactly what I felt," said contributor Kevin Spencer of Fort Lauderdale, who described his essay as "raw." Education is the key to keeping future generations safe from HIV, said Caroline Hill, a contributor and AIDS advocate at United Deliverance Community Resource Center in West Palm Beach. Hill said misinformation about HIV/AIDS is common, including the myth that the government has cured AIDS for wealthy people like NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

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