Event aims to break the silence and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in the black community
For the third straight year, the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS will host HOOPS IN VIRGINIA, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and HIV summit.
The event is November 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the James Lee Recreation Center, 2855 Annandale Road. It is free and all are welcome. Registration for the 3-on-3 basketball tournament is $30 per team and is due by November 11.
The Clergy Council is a coalition of local Baptist ministers created to support, encourage and empower the faith community to take action toward stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately impacts the African-American community.
While African-Americans represent about 14 percent of the population, they account for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States. The rate of HIV infection among African-Americans is almost five times as high as that of all other race categories combined. Most recent data from 2016 show that in Northern Virginia, 46 percent of the 6,789 HIV/AIDS cases are African-American.
For the council, the idea of hosting a basketball tournament to raise awareness about HIV in the black community seemed like a slam dunk.
Rev. Jim Harden, Chaplain of the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS, is quick to quote Hosea Chapter 4, Verse 6 (KJV), which says 'My people perish from a lack of knowledge.'
"We have found this to be a great way to reach our community," said Rev. Harden. "The past two events were fun for both the athletes and their families. We hope this one will equal the mark."
The aim is to encourage healthy behaviors that prevent the spread of HIV among the most at-risk populations and to motivate people to seek early diagnosis and treatment for HIV.
Besides the basketball, the day will consist of presentations from persons living with HIV/AIDS and health educators as well as FREE and confidential HIV testing. Breakfast will be provided at the start of the summit and lunch will be served midday.
The event is co-sponsored by the City of Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS, Inova Juniper Program, Fairfax County Health Department and Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services.
For more information, or to register, go to www.nvccpha.org or call Nechelle Terrell at 703-746-4933. For a list of confidential testing locations in Northern Virginia, go to https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/hiv-aids.
About the Northern Virginia Clergy Council for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS
The Clergy Council was established in 2008 as an initiative of the Fairfax County Health Department, in partnership with Northern Virginia Clergy, to address the root causes fueling the HIV epidemic in the African-American community. In accordance with the National HIV/AIDS strategy, the Clergy Council's strategic goals are to reduce new HIV infections and HIV-related disparities by actively engaging and assisting churches in adopting community HIV prevention ministries that reduce stigma and encourage personal responsibility, testing and treatment.
Fairfax County Health Department
703-246-8635, TTY 711