Health and Family Services Cabinet
Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS Set for March
DPH Reaches Out to Kentucky Spiritual Organizations
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) actively supports efforts to promote The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS March 4-10, an observance that includes thousands of churches across the country.
The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is dedicated to prayer and educational activities focused on the healing and prevention of HIV/AIDS, which continues to spread through the African-American community at a disproportionately higher rate than in other races and ethnicities. Of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections each year, more than 50 percent occur among African-Americans.
“The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is a powerful week of prayer, education and action,” said Sigga Jagne, manager of the HIV/AIDS branch in DPH. “The observance helps us engage black congregations in efforts to support, encourage and empower African-Americans to take action toward stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS in black communities worldwide.”
HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-American women ages 25 to 34. The rate of AIDS cases for African-American women is 25 times higher than the rate for white women. Of the estimated new AIDS cases, 61 percent are among African-American adolescent girls ages 13-19. African-American men continue to be at high risk for infection, accounting for an estimated 57 percent of AIDS diagnoses among men. The rate of HIV infection on many of the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continues to be alarmingly high.
“DPH strongly encourages churches and congregations to join the fight against HIV/AIDS in black communities,” said Jagne. “Traditionally, the black church has been the source of inspiration, guidance, leadership and solace for its congregation. Our goal is to inspire them to use this tradition to speak out about HIV/AIDS.”
For more information, contact Beverly Mitchell, HIV prevention minority initiatives coordinator, at (502) 564-6539 or e-mail Beverly.Mitchell@ky.gov. More information is available at the HIV/AIDS branch Web site, http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/hivaids.htm.