Over 1000 congregations are preparing for HIV Testing in The Our Church Lights The Way Campaign

Submitted by Pauline Barfield

The End of AIDS is in Sight

The Balm In Gilead is appealing to ALL congregations of every faith and background to host an HIV Testing Event at some point during the month of June, in support of National HIV Testing Day, June 27, 2012. Register your congregation’s support and HIV Testing event at www.balmingilead.org. With the announcement by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in a speech at the National Institutes of Health last year that “an AIDS-free generation is within reach”, The Balm In Gilead spearheaded a national faith-based mobilization signifier:

The End of AIDS is in Sight through Prayer, Education, Testing and Treatment. “As we uphold the everlasting banner of Prayer, The Balm In Gilead is setting a goal of engaging 1000 congregations in June 2012 to shine forth a beacon of light on testing as a key component of Ending the AIDS Epidemic. Together, we are continuing our proclamation of faith that the End of AIDS is in Sight through Prayer, Education Testing and Treatment” says Pernessa C. Seele, Founder & CEO The Balm In Gilead, Inc. The recent announcement that HIV among Black women far exceeds the national average in Newark, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore, New York and Washington, DC should have HIV Testing on everyone’s mind, especially in these cities. The HIV rates among Black women in these cities are being compared to HIV rates in the Congo, a nation located in sub-Sahara Africa. African Americans, at large, are carrying a heavy burden by having the highest rates of HIV than any other ethnic group in the United States. According to CDC, African Americans are 14 percent of the US population and hold the record of having 44 percent of the new HIV infections in the nation. It is projected that 1 in 4 African Americans will contract HIV within their lifetime. Without the full support of congregations, the extraordinary scientific interventions that Secretary Clinton spoke about will not be utilized by members of our community and the AIDS epidemic will continue to explode out of control in our neighborhoods.

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