The Balm in
Gilead, a national nonprofit group working to stop the
spread of HIV among African-Americans, is holding its
seventh annual HIV awareness and testing campaign
throughout June. The campaign, titled "Our
Church Lights the Way: The Black Church HIV Testing
Campaign," urges African-American church
leaders to speak about HIV issues, encourage their
congregants to seek HIV antibody tests, and promote HIV
awareness. The campaign culminates on June 27,
National HIV Testing Day.
to save African-Americans from HIV/AIDS is the civil rights
fight for today," said Pernessa Seele, the Balm in
Gilead's founder and CEO, in a press statement.
"We need the African-American church to once
again mobilize and engage the entire black community in
stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS among our men, women,
and children. The strong voice of the black pulpit
must speak loud on HIV prevention, which includes
informing African-Americans about the importance of HIV
testing and counseling."
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than
half of all new U.S. HIV infections occur among
African-Americans. AIDS is the number 1 cause of death
for black adults ages 25-44.