HIV Awareness Symposium underway in Jackson - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

HIV Awareness Symposium underway in Jackson

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

The Red Door Foundation is putting on the "Saving Ourselves" Symposium at the Hilton Hotel. A conference designed to promote unity, self- empowerment, and mentorship of the LGBTQ community among people of color. 

The conference will include many speakers and workshops meant to engage, inspire and change frames of thought. Organizers say they brought the conference to Jackson this year, in part because of the city's high HIV rate. 

"When you think about black LGBTQ individuals who are black before they identify as LGBTQ, and so when you look at HIV and the complexities of the identities of those people, we thought Jackson would be a great house," said Red Door Foundation founder Marvell Terry II.

As of Tuesday, the State Department of Health will no longer offer free HIV testing due to budget cuts, so now anyone hoping to get screened will first need to come up with $25.00.

"When you talk about communities that need to get tested; when you look at the rates, you're talking about low-income individuals and people of color," added Terry. "If a person has to choose between transportation or getting tested, I'm almost certain that they will choose transportation."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Jackson is in the top four in the nation for HIV diagnoses.

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