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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
KENTUCKY: By Combining Efforts, Health Advocates Hope to Strengthen the Fight Against HIV
Mary Meehan
December 9, 2011
Lexington Herald-Leader (12.01.11) - Friday, December 09,

The newly formed Bluegrass HIV Coalition seeks to reinvigorate the battle against AIDS in Kentucky. For too many residents, HIV/AIDS is "off their radar," said BHC Chair Annette Pryor.

Declining budgets and duplication of services in part necessitated the creation of BHC, a collaborative currently composed of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD); AIDS Volunteers Inc.; Volunteers of America; the Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Hope Center; University of Kentucky Bluegrass Care Clinic; and the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. Other organizations are welcome to join, said Pryor.

BHC will stress the need for statewide HIV prevention, testing and treatment. "It's up to us to be out there and in people's faces," Pryor noted.

A particular focus is needed on African Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by the disease. Due to HIV's historical link to gays, talking about the virus and how it spreads can be difficult for some, particularly black communities where conservative churches figure importantly, said Mark Johnson, health equity team leader for the LFCHD.