churches are only slowing beginning to address HIV after
years of silence on the issue, The [South
Mississippi] Sun Herald reports. According to
the newspaper, ministers have largely avoided talking
about HIV because it requires talking about related
topics that many African-Americans consider taboo,
like homosexuality, extramarital sex, and
injection-drug use. But with the rate of HIV exploding among
African-Americans--half of all new HIV cases in the
United States are diagnosed among blacks, who make up
only 12% of the U.S. population--black churches
are beginning to talk about HIV awareness and prevention.
Carlton Veazey, founder of the Black Church Initiative, told
The Sun Herald that some ministers are
"beginning to take a stand, preaching tolerance, creating
AIDS ministries, and even opening up their churches
for HIV testing."
author of several books about minority health issues,
says he has seen a "fundamental shift" in the
response to the AIDS epidemic among black churches.
"Churches are increasing their involvement, as
more and more high-profile black ministers openly preach
not just about AIDS and sexuality but also about
homosexuality," he told the newspaper. (Advocate.com)