Orlando Black Pride in partnership with the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention, Rollins College and the Orange County Health Department are proud to present "Does the Body of Christ Have AIDS?" a forum about HIV/AIDS awareness and the role of the church, 7 p.m. May 30 at the Mills Building at Rollins College in Winter Park.
The forum, a panel discussion between local, state and national health officials, educators and religious leaders, will explore how the church can be a resource for providing HIV/AIDS awareness to help fight the stigma, fear, discrimination and homophobia about the disease and negative perceptions about HIV testing. The forum will be held in the Galloway Room of the Mills Building, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park. The event is free and open to the public.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, African-Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States. In 2009, they comprised 14 percent of the population, but accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections. Lack of awareness about the disease in the African-American community and resistance to testing are part of the reason for those new infections. Some activists and advocates believe black churches should play a role in preventing the spread of HIV.
Moderated by media consultant Clarence Reynolds, the panel will include Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Orange County Health Department; Dr. Missiouri L. McPhee district secretary of the 11th Episcopal AME Church; Rev. Makeba D'Abreu, director of programs at Balm in Gilead Inc.; Pastor Brei Taylor, founder of Oasis Fellowship Ministries; Ron Henderson, statewide minority AIDS coordinator for the Florida Department of Health; and Aleisha Langhorne, public health advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition to educating African-American and Hispanic clergy about HIV/AIDS to reduce the stigma of the disease and dispel myths surrounding it, the event will provide HIV testing to participants.
The initiative is the first collaboration for the four organizations presenting the event and will be held as part of Orlando Black Pride week, May 29 through June 3, at various venues throughout Orlando. To register to attend the forum, contact Katherine Chatman at the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention, 321-278-4365; or email her at email@example.com