Rev. Jesse Jackson Urges HIV Awareness, Testing, More Research for a Cure at National Black AIDS Conference
The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Monday in Philadelphia at the 2007 National Conference on African-Americans and AIDS called for increased research funding to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, as well as more awareness about HIV testing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (McCullough, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13). Jackson, founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, gave the plenary address at the two-day conference. The conference, which ended Tuesday, featured discussions such as "Epidemiology of HIV"; "Clinical Management of HIV Infection"; "Microbicides"; "Hepatitis A, B and C"; and "HIV/AIDS Policy" (Williams, Philadelphia Daily News, 2/13). Jackson encouraged well-known blacks to receive HIV tests publicly to help address the stigma surrounding the disease. For instance, he said that if players participating in the National Basketball Association All-Star Game on Sunday took the test live on television, it could inspire others to do the same. "We must use every platform we can for mass education," Jackson said. He also urged the hundreds of medical professionals and HIV/AIDS activists attending the conference to buy stock in drug companies and then attend shareholder meetings to push for a cure, according to the Inquirer. The drug companies GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer are among major sponsors of Minority Healthcare Communications, which produces the conference, the Inquirer reports. Drug companies "may have an interest in more medicine and less cure," Jackson said, adding, "Ultimately we don't want the medicine. We want the cure" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13).