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Chicago HIV group
aims to involve religious leaders

Chicago HIV group
aims to involve religious leaders

Involving church leaders could improve HIV outreach to African-Americans.

A new HIV prevention organization in the Chicago area hopes to influence African-Americans and other minority groups by recruiting local religious leaders to reach out to at-risk communities, the Chicago Tribune reports. Brad Ogilvie, founder of the Mosaic Initiative, says the clergy has not been tapped as a resource to promote HIV awareness and prevention to groups hit hard by the disease. He also says it is important for religious leaders to reverse decades of inaction by most churches in addressing HIV. "There's no question that religion has helped fuel the silence on HIV," he told the Tribune.

Ogilvie says he hopes that religious leaders participating in the Mosaic Initiative will promote HIV prevention and testing to their congregations, perhaps even by taking public HIV antibody tests themselves to encourage their followers to follow suit. He also hopes they will begin to tackle issues with their congregations concerning sex and sexuality, in order to help dissipate the stigmas associated with sexual topics as well with discussing how HIV spreads.

Plans for the Mosaic Initiative also include creating a college scholarship program for HIV-positive adults and sending Chicago-area HIV-positive residents to Kenya to help with HIV prevention work in Africa. (

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