March 1, 2008
State Public Health Director calls on churches to fight HIV/AIDS
IDPH observes Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, today called on pastors to partner with the state to educate and raise awareness in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in observance of the 19th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, which is March 2 - 8, 2008.
This observance was founded in 1989 by The Balm in Gilead, as a powerful week of prayer, education and action. This national AIDS awareness campaign engages African American congregations to support, encourage and empower African Americans, Africans and all people of the Diaspora to take action toward stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS in African American communities worldwide.
“Churches, for the most part, are the focal point of the African American community. So it makes sense to work with faith based organizations to raise awareness, educate and encourage testing,” said Dr. Arnold. “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.
The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Center for Minority Health Services is sponsoring several events across the state including a breakfast next Saturday in Springfield to engage the Black churches to become centers for education, compassion and care in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS services will be held, today, at the following participating Churches in the Champaign area:
The following events are sponsored or co-sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Center for Minority Health Services:
For more information on HIV/AIDS visit www.basuah.org or call the Illinois HIV/AIDS and STD hotline at 1-800-AID-AIDS (1-800-243-2437) during the following hours: M-F 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., and weekends 11:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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