Houston Chronicle Examines Local Church’s Efforts To Increase HIV Testing
The Houston Chronicle on Wednesday examined efforts by pastors at the predominantly black St. John's Church in Houston to encourage people to receive HIV tests. St. John's offers HIV testing, among other services, through the non-for-profit Bread of Life. Amber David, a counselor at the church, serves as an advocate for testing, urging congregants to be screened during monthly "Get Tested" Sundays. St. John's Pastor, Rudy Rasmus, began an HIV campaign among congregants 15 years ago, after "too many funeral service requests for young people who died" from AIDS-related causes, he said. Rasmus says the church serves as an effective forum for reaching the black community because it is historically the center of the community. According to Houston health department data, blacks account for more than half of all new HIV cases in Harris County, and black teenagers represent most new cases among all adolescents. St. Johns' Bread of Life tested 700 people in 2008 (George, Houston Chronicle, 3/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.