Nationwide AIDS campaign launched - - Jackson, MS

Nationwide AIDS campaign launched

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A nationwide public awareness campaign was launched at Tougaloo College Friday night. The topic? "AIDS is a civil rights issue".

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is spearheading the effort, claiming African American and Latino communities are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

The town hall discussion featured health experts, clergy and AIDS activists. Civil rights activist, Rev. Al Sharpton was the keynote speaker.

"People have to deal with the fact that when it comes to the disproportionate of African Americans that are HIV positive and you look at the lack of resources, research, healthcare that match those stats and that data, it's a civil rights issue," said Sharpton. "It is alarming. It is understated and it is, in my opinion, not been giving the kind of visibility it needs and I would hope that this tour and partnership will help make it a national issue."

"We think that the disparities that we're witnessing here in Mississippi are a social justice crisis," said Brown University professor Dr. Amy Nunn. "However, we have the tools to fight the epidemic. We now know that testing and treatment can prolong lives and we're trying to use all of tools in our arsenal to fight Mississippi's alarming rates of HIV infection."

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest global AIDS organization providing care and services to more than 279-thousand individuals in 32 countries.

Local partners include Tougaloo College, Mississippi Faith in Action, My Brother's Keeper and Brown University's Center for AIDS Research.

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