Pittsburgh Organizations Team Up to Encourage HIV Testing in Black Community
The Kingsley Association, WAMO radio, the Southwestern Pennsylvania AIDS Planning Coalition and some Pittsburgh-area ministers on Tuesday launched a partnership to publicize National HIV/AIDS Testing Day on June 27, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The launch was held at the Kingsley Association, a neighborhood organization that offers classes and services to the surrounding black community to call attention to the fact that HIV/AIDS in the United States disproportionately affects blacks. "We're praying for the children in South Africa whose parents are dying of AIDS," Rev. Thomas Smith of Monumental Baptist Church said, adding, "But we're also concerned about the severity of the disease and its impact on the black community here." At the launch, Smith also demonstrated the "simplicity" of HIV testing by undergoing an OraSure test, the oral HIV test approved by the FDA in 1996. He encouraged area congregations to make HIV testing part of their congregational outreach and added that such testing is a way for the community to "mobilize and confront" the HIV/AIDS epidemic among blacks. In addition to encouraging HIV testing on National HIV/AIDS Testing Day, the groups will encourage testing and advertise local testing sites at this weekend's Juneteenth concerts, and the Kingsley Association on June 25 will host a photography exhibit honoring those doctors and celebrities who have been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the United States, AIDS-related illnesses are the leading cause of death among black men ages 25 to 44 and the second-leading cause of death among black women of the same age (Dyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.