Someone Cares, an Atlanta-based HIV/AIDS advocacy and prevention organization for African-American and Latino men who have sex with men, will be honored by the Black AIDS Institute at a Thursday night event at the Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta.
The event coincides with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7, an annual observance of the ongoing struggle with the disease in African-American communities.
“We are a outreach agency,” Edwin Kennedy-Worthington, director of programs for Someone Cares, said today by phone. “That’s what we pride ourselves on. We’re not going to reach the population by sitting behind a computer.”
Kennedy-Worthington said a recent after-hours outing where 40 people were tested resulted in four positive tests. That 10 percent of those tested have HIV, Kennedy-Worthington said, is proof these services are needed.
“One thing that everyone has to realize, there’s not one blanket anything we can put out there to change what’s happening,” Kennedy-Worthington said. “What we have found is that we have to meet people where they are.”
African Americans account for 44 percent of all new HIV infections, despite only making up 14 percent of the total U.S. population as a racial or ethnic group, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. A majority of African Americans infected are men who have sex with men (MSM).
The Thursday night event will feature a press conference announcing a new initiative called “Light at the End of the Tunnel: Ending AIDS in Black America.” A reception will follow honoring those working toward ending the HIV epidemic.
More local events for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Guy Anthony, an author and HIV/AIDS activist, will speak Thursday night at Morehouse College as part of an event to recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day called “HIV and Me.”
Anthony, author of “(Pos)+itively Beautiful,” will join Kenneth Pass, president of Morehouse College Safe Space, and nurse Kendra Gamble of the Morehouse Student Health Center in a panel discussion on stigma, prevention methods and sexuality.
The panel discussion will take place in Morehoue’s Dansby Hall (room 200) from 7-9 p.m.
The Empowerment Resource Center will offer free testing from Feb. 5-7 at its Comprehensive Intervention Clinic. Testing is free, but individuals are encouraged to make an appointment beforehand. The ERC Comprehensive Intervention Clinic is located at 100 Edgewood Ave. NE, Suite 1020, Atlanta, GA 30303.
The African American Outreach Initiative Conference will take place Feb. 8-9 at the Loudermilk Center from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day. The goal of the annual conference is to identify people most at-risk for HIV and to work toward providing services for people who need care but cannot afford or find it.