California Group Hosts Conference, Starts Database To Spread HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Black Teenagers
Helping Our Own Destiny -- a not-for-profit group in Fresno, Calif. -- this month is launching a new HIV/AIDS awareness campaign aimed at black teenagers, the Fresno Bee reports. For the campaign's launch on Feb. 28, the group plans to host a conference for about 500 students at a local high school.
The conference will feature speakers, workshops and a dance party afterward.
Participating teenagers also will have the opportunity to enroll in a database Helping Our Own Destiny plans to use to keep track of the teens.
In Fresno County, about 6% of the population is black. Blacks in the county make up 20% of AIDS cases and 14% of HIV cases, according to Jena Adams, a communicable-disease specialist with the county Department of Health.
Paul Copeland, president and founder of Helping Our Own Destiny, said, "Our objective is to take a proactive approach toward getting the information out there. Right now, they leave brochures, but students don't respond." He added, "There's still a stigma that [HIV/AIDS is] a gay issue. In the black community, there's a lot of stigmas. We know there's kids being affected" (Colon, Fresno Bee, 2/19).