March 1-7 is Black Church Week of Prayer for the healing of AIDS

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By The Staff

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working to promote Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, an observance held March 1-7 that includes thousands of churches across the country.

As part of the observance, DPH and community-based organizations are inviting churches to participate in a “Prayer for the Healing of AIDS,” an educational event set for 6 p.m. March 1 at St. Paul AME Church, 251 N. Upper St., Lexington. Free HIV testing will be available at the same location from 4 to 8 p.m.

As part of the observance, pastors and clergy people are encouraged to discuss the HIV/AIDS epidemic with members of their congregations and become centers for HIV/AIDS ministries, education and compassion by partnering with their local health department or local AIDS community service to support HIV testing and education efforts.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in five HIV-infected people are unaware of their status and that these undiagnosed individuals are mainly responsible for transmitting the disease to others.

For more information about Black Church Week of Prayer and about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, contact Beverly Mitchell or Michael Hambrick, prevention initiatives coordinators, at (502) 564-6539, ext. 3558 and 3560 respectively, or visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/hivaids.htm. More information is available on the Black Church Week of Prayer Web site at www.balmingilead.org/programs/weekofprayer2008/.