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Black churches
slowly beginning to address HIV

Black churches
slowly beginning to address HIV

African-American 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.

The Reverend 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."

Robert Fullilove, 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. (

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