1-877 BLACKPR (252-2577)
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2014
Contact Information

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea (AHF, LA)
or mobile 323.791.5526
Jessica Reinhart (AHF, NYC)
Love Alive International Foundation
Pastor Stacey Latimer
Watchful Eye
Jessica Allen

(BPRW) "˜AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue' Town Hall to address HIV in Brooklyn's Black Community

- Brooklyn forum, a part of AHF's national "˜AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue' public awareness campaign, will feature keynote speaker Bishop Gerald Seabrooks & town hall discussion exploring the fact that African Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – BROOKLYN, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation:

What: ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ Dinner and Town Hall Discussion

When: THURSDAY, September 18th 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Where: Mount Sinai Baptist Church
241 Gates Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Rev. Dr. Curtis Whitney – Senior Clergy, Mount Sinai Baptist Church
Jessica Allen – CEO, Watchful Eye
Robert Cornegy – New York City Council, District 36
Bishop Gerald Seabrooks – Rehoboth Cathedral (KEYNOTE)
Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President

Reverend Dr. Robert Waterman (Moderator) – Antioch Baptist Church
Pastor Stacey Latimer – Love Alive International Foundation, Inc.
Michelle Lopez, Community Advocate
Reverend Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church
Rev. Kahli Mootoo, National Action Network Co-Chair

CONTACTS: Ged Kenslea (AHF, LA), +1.323.308.1833 or mobile 323.791.5526 ged.kenslea@aidshealth.org
Jessica Reinhart (AHF, NYC), +1.323.203.6146 jessica.reinhart@aidshealth.org
Pastor Stacey Latimer, +1.212.335.0593 slatimer@lainetworks.com
Jessica Allen, +1.917.202.0544 watchfuleyeja@aol.com

In response to the fact that African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched its national “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue” public awareness campaign in February to highlight this health disparity as well as to emphasize the fact that access to HIV prevention, care and treatment for HIV/AIDS should be universal.

As part of its campaign, AHF has teamed with local partners Mount Sinai Baptist Church, Watchful Eye, and Love Alive International Foundation, Inc. to host an ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ dinner and town hall discussion at Mount Sinai Baptist Church from 5:30pm to 9:00pm on Thursday evening, September 18th. Bishop Gerald Seabrooks of Rehoboth Cathedral will be the keynote speaker after a panel discussion with several respected local community, political, health, religious and HIV/AIDS leaders. The forum is the sixth in a nationwide series spearheaded by AHF in February.

Currently African Americans account for 44% of all people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, yet only account for 12% of the population. Latinos account for 21% of all new HIV infections nationwide, yet only represent 16% of the U.S. population.

Disproportionately high numbers of HIV/AIDS cases among communities of color may be caused by several factors, including:

• Lack of access to clinics for care and HIV testing.

• High levels of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in these communities prevent people from learning their HIV status, or from seeking care and speaking honestly with their partners if they know they are positive.

• Both society and the healthcare industry have marginalized members of these communities both on account of sexual orientation and race, blocking essential treatment, care, and education for those who need it.

“Our ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ public awareness campaign is opening dialogue with stakeholders in the community, the public health arena, and faith-based groups as well as public officials about health disparities and the importance of universal access to HIV prevention and care and treatment,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are honored to have Bishop Seabrooks and our esteemed partners in Brooklyn lend their voices to this important cause and discussion.”

At an earlier forum of the AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue campaign held in Los Angeles in late February, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke about the importance of overcoming HIV stigma to attain equal access to HIV/AIDS treatment for those in need. From the pulpit at Holman United Methodist Church in the West Adams District of Los Angeles, Sharpton told the rapt, overflow congregation: “Jesus heals the sick. He did not judge the sick,” adding with regard to those leading the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th Century: “I’m glad they didn’t judge me before they fought for me.”

HIV/AIDS in Brooklyn

As of June 30, 2013, more than 28,750 people in Brooklyn were living with HIV/AIDS. There were 374 new HIV diagnoses in the Brooklyn borough in the first half of 2013 alone, and 231 Brooklynites died of AIDS-related complications during the same time frame, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s 2013 HIV Surveillance Mid-Year Report. This was the highest number of AIDS-related deaths in the first half of 2013 out of all the New York boroughs.

According to the same department’s 2012 Annual HIV Surveillance report, 1,394 of the HIV diagnoses throughout New York City in all of 2012 occurred in the black community compared to 1,019 in the Latino community and 611 among whites. The report states that, in 2012 “the HIV diagnosis rate among black males was over 1.5 times higher than the rate among Hispanic males and over 2 times higher than the rate among white males.” Additionally, it says that “the HIV diagnosis rate among black females was over 3 times higher than the rate among Hispanic females and over 12 times higher than the rate among white females” in 2012 throughout New York City.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 329,000 individuals in 34 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare

About Love Alive International Foundation

LAI (Love Alive International) Foundation Inc. (LAIF) is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to empowering those oppressed by structures, systems, cultures, and traditions that impede their physical and mental progress, as it pertains to HIV and AIDS and other disproportionate health disparities that plague the black community through advocacy, education, and business partnerships.

About Watchful Eye

The Watchful Eye is a community-based organization that is uniquely positioned to mobilize local stakeholders and national leadership to ensure that HIV/AIDS remains a part of every community’s public health agenda. We believe that if individuals are aware of their HIV status, they can and will begin to affect the changes in behavior that will stem the spread of HIV in our communities. Our Red Ribbon symbolizes compassion for those infected by the virus and our commitment to save lives through HIV/AIDS preventive testing endeavors.

Source: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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