Organizations stress communication in stopping HIV spread - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Organizations stress communication in stopping HIV spread

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Wednesday was Black HIV Aids Awareness Day. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Jackson has the fourth highest rate of HIV in the nation.

Organizations and HIV AIDS prevention advocates came together to help stop the spread of the virus which is at crisis levels in the Capital City.

"Jackson is number four in the nation I think because of the silence,' said Cedric Sturdevant who is living with AIDS.

The 52-year-old is urging others to get tested for HIV, use protection and talk about the virus. He served on a panel with My Brother's Keeper during Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day.

"I ignored the fact that I was HIV positive for a whole year because of stigma, because of fear, because of shame and all of that and my diagnosis in 2006 became AIDS," added Sturdevant.

A panel consisting of a college student, psychiatrist, and others discussed solutions to stopping the HIV spread. My Brother's Keeper is stressing the prevention of HIV through safe sex, testing and education.

The common explanation for the high rate in Jackson is not acknowledging or discussing AIDS, no church involvement in the conversation, and the lack of sex education in schools and talks in families.

"Conversations are key. First talk about HIV, talk about sex, talk about reproductive health," said Deja Abdul-Haqq, Director of Organizational Development with My Brother's Keeper. "Get tested. The only way for you to know your status is to get tested and don't have a fear of what the outcome is going to be."

My Brother's Keeper offers free HIV testing through the Open Arms Health Care Center located at 805 East River Place, Jackson MS.

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