State public health department observes
Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS
IDPH hosts breakfast and highlights BASUAH
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today invited pastors to partner with the state to educate and raise awareness in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services hosted a breakfast in Springfield to engage the Black churches to become centers for education, compassion and care in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The breakfast commemorates the 18th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, which is March 4-10, 2007.
“Understanding that the African-American churches are, in most cases, the focal point of the community, the State is partnering with faith-based congregations to raise awareness, educate and encourage testing,” said Doris Turner, Director of the Center for Minority Health Services. “Getting pastors and faith based organizations to help educate about HIV/AIDS is one of the components of the Governor’s BASUAH campaign.”
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich launched BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS), the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, in 2005 to focus on education, prevention and testing, targeting African Americans because of the number of HIV cases reported within that community in Illinois. In 2004, African Americans made up more than half of the newly reported HIV cases in the state while they only represent 15 percent of the state’s population. Since the launch of BASUAH, the numbers for newly reported cases have dropped in Illinois.
Rev. DeQuincy M. Hentz, of Shiloh Baptist Church, New Rochelle, New York, was the speaker. He spoke about the need to have the Black church on the offense in this fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
For more information on HIV/AIDS visit www.basuah.org or call the Illinois HIV/AIDS and STD hotline at 1-800-243-2437 during the following hours: M-F 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Weekends 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.