Fairfax County Partners with Faith Leaders and Community Organizations on HIV/AIDS Prevention

February 25, 2011

Fairfax County's Health Department and Community Interfaith Coordination, together with Inova Juniper, K.I. Services, Inc. and the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, are partnering with the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS for its third annual HIV/AIDS Prevention Faith Summit for Teens and Adults. The event will take place on Saturday, March 5, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Vienna, 450 Orchard Street, in Vienna.

The summit is free and open to the public—register online by visiting the health department's website.

This event is part of a larger effort by county and community HIV organizations to engage and support faith communities in HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives that reduce stigma and encourage personal responsibility, testing and treatment.

"The clergy understand the critical role that the faith community has in breaking the silence and addressing the factors fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the black community," said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H., Fairfax County director of health. "Their partnership and commitment is making a difference in community education and prevention efforts."

African Americans comprise 20 percent of Virginia's population, yet they represent nearly two out of three new cases of HIV infection. The Virginia Department of Health also reports black men are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white males; and black women account for 77 percent of all women living with HIV.

"We recognize the church has a powerful voice in our community," said Rev. Dr. Kenny Smith of the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS. "We hope to reverse the alarming upward trend of HIV infection in the black community by providing the facts in our churches and encouraging people to make healthy choices."

The summit's program also includes a showing of the county's video, Break the Silence; HIV/AIDS education; informative workshops for adults and teens; and live choir performances.

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