Health Department Partners with Faith Community on HIV/AIDS Prevention

March 3, 2010

The Fairfax County Health Department and the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS invite the community to join ongoing efforts to spotlight and reverse the alarming trends and underlying factors fueling the HIV epidemic in the African American community by participating in the HIV/AIDS Prevention Faith Summit for Youth and Adults on Saturday, March 6, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Vienna, 450 Orchard Street, Vienna, VA. The summit is free and open to the public.

"This unprecedented partnership with faith leaders is a critical component of our HIV/AIDS prevention strategy," said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH, Fairfax County Director of Health. "It is going to take community action to stop the spread of this disease within the community."

African Americans account for more than 49 percent of new AIDS diagnoses, but make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population. The Virginia Department of Health reports 69 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases in Northern Virginia occur in African American youth. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34, and the second leading cause of death for Black men ages 35 to 44.

"If most people knew the devastation of this disease, and how horrible it is for someone to die from this disease, I think they would make better decisions," said Rev. Dr. Kenny Smith, Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS Chairman. "So we hope by talking about HIV/AIDS in our churches we will make a difference by presenting the facts and encouraging people to make healthy choices."

The key note speaker at the summit will be Lavern Cameron, mother of Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010. Mrs. Cameron will speak about how HIV/AIDS has impacted and inspired the Cameron family of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The summit's program also includes a showing of the county's new video entitled Break the Silence; HIV/AIDS education; informative workshops for adults and teens; and live choir performances.

Additional information about HIV/AIDS and the HIV/AIDS Prevention Faith Summit for Teens & Adults is posted online on the Break the Silence Web page . The new video Break the Silence may be viewed on YouTube.

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