The Health and Wellness Ministry at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a lecture on HIV/AIDS and its impact on the community. The speaker will be Dr. Cameron Nixon with Affinity Clinic. The discussion will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the church. The public is encouraged to attend.
The ministry has hosted several different events on topics such as nutrition, heart disease, breast cancer and hypertension. The idea to bring up the subject of HIV/AIDS started with the church’s pastor, the Rev. Rudolph Porter.
While attending a master’s class in social policy at Albany State University, Porter said the professor shared a documentary called “Out of Control: AIDS in Black America.”
According to The documentary group website, “Out of Control” was the first national network television documentary to examine how and why AIDS has become overwhelmingly a black epidemic — not in Africa or the Third World, but right here in the United States.
The documentary was first broadcast Aug. 26, 2006 on ABC.
“AIDS is at an epidemic level in America,” Porter said. He added that in the documentary, some notable pastors were asked if they were addressing this issue from the pulpit. Being a pastor himself, he admitted that he had never talked about it. He went to the church ministry with the idea of tackling this issue by bringing in an expert to educate not only Shiloh church members but the community as a whole on what can be done about the disease, what causes it and ways to prevent it.
“Four out of 10 prisoners released nationwide have the AIDS virus,” Porter noted.
He added, in some cases, “In the black community, we call it cancer instead of calling it what it is.” He said the community needs to be educated, including those with the virus.
Porter said by having the lecture, hopefully people can pass the information along to others on the importance of being aware of HIV/AIDS.
“I want this to be a non-denominational and not race based,” he commented. “People can ask questions and listen.”
Members Annie Jean Corbin, Clara Love Gray (chair), Alice Archie (co-chair) and Ella Pettiford of the Health and Wellness Ministry said the lecture will be very educational and informative. Attendees will be made aware of the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS and the importance of being screened for it.
“We’re doing it for the community. We want to remove the fiction and face the fact that it is a disease and that it is preventable,” Gray said. “One of the reasons that it is not talked about more is because of the stigma attached to it. If we have more information, then we could impact the community in a positive way.”
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.