Jackson Ward 6 City Councilman Tony Yarber says AIDS has touched his life in a way that may surprise people who only know him casually.
"I had a sister who succumbed to HIV, and also a nephew. So that hits home a lot more personal than it does than simply having parishioners (affected)," he says.
Others who gathered on the Mississippi State Capitol steps Friday morning to remind us of world AIDS day on Sunday say they know people who are affected. Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church in Jackson preaches to them every Sunday morning.
"If you want to include family members (in my congregation) who have had something like this, I would say 1/3 or more of people are touched by this," Bishop Crudup tells us. "Our deal is, instead of just trying to be compassionate, let's get involved and see if we can make a change."
The group announced that more than 20 faith leaders will take the AIDS issue to the pulpit on World AIDS Day. They will try to remove the stigma of the disease and assure people that, with proper treatment, AIDS is not the death sentence it used to be.
At Councilman Yarber's church, Relevant Empowerment Church AT 3900 W. Northside Drive, free AIDS testing will be given. It will occur Sunday morning between 8:30-11:30 a.m.
"Drop in, somebody will whisk you into the testing area. Those results are absolutely confidential, then you can leave right on out. If you test positive there will be some people who can council you and lead you in a way to some positive treatment," he says.
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