Nashville, Tenn., Religious Leaders Seek To Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Blacks
The AP/Clarksville Leaf Chronicle recently featured an effort by the Nashville, Tenn., Metro Health Department that aims to "harness the power and influence of black churches to slow the spread of HIV" in the community. About 27% of Nashville's population is black and the group makes up 55% of HIV/AIDS cases, according to the AP/Chronicle.
Historically, black communities and religious organizations have "remained virtually silent about HIV/AIDS prevention," according to the AP/Chronicle. However, on National HIV Testing Day last month, 14 ministers signed a covenant promising to discuss HIV/AIDS with their congregations and each took an HIV test. Churchgoers also had the option of taking HIV tests after services that day.
"Sexuality has always been discussed in the black church," the Rev. Raymond Bowman, who participated in the event, said, adding, "It's just that with what is going on in the world today, it has got to move from the back burner to the front. We are going to continue to talk about abstinence. But if we want our daughters and our sons to be healthy enough to marry the people that they love, we are going to have to talk about testing, too" (Ross, AP/Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, 7/5).