New HIV/AIDS Educational Video

November 30, 2009

The Fairfax County Health Department will begin utilizing a new video entitled Break the Silence to promote HIV/AIDS prevention in the African American community, which is disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

"Break the Silence illustrates the gravity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the black community and addresses some of the complex issues, such as denial and stigma, fueling the epidemic," said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH, Fairfax County Director of Health. "I hope this video will encourage others to take a proactive approach in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS in our community."

The health department partnered with the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS on Break the Silence. Members of the faith community have embraced the role of HIV educator in an effort to curb the alarming trend in the African American community.

"We recognize that the faith community cannot remain silent about HIV/AIDS," said Rev. Dr. Kenny Smith, chairman of the clergy council. "If you want to reach the black community, you start with the black church."

Fairfax County has the second highest number of new HIV/AIDS cases in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health reports blacks are 7 times more likely to be living with AIDS than whites and that one out of every 370 Virginians is known to be living with HIV/AIDS.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Proclaimed December 1, 2009 as AIDS Awareness Day. Health Department staff and members of the clergy council will recognize World AIDS Day by showing Break the Silence and educating the public during events scheduled on the George Mason University campus, which include the display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt .

Break the Silence was produced by Fairfax County's Channel 16 and is currently available for viewing online.

World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988. World AIDS Day provides governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

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