All On Georgia

‘State of HIV’ conference focuses on the Deep South

Tuskegee University on Wednesday will serve as host of an annual conference, “State of HIV in Black America Conference Southern Region.”

“Winning at Living: National Black Leadership Commision on AIDS, Inc.” will focus on trends of HIV/AIDS in the Deep South, and will include speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Duke HIV/AIDS Policy Center and from C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA).

The conference was originally scheduled for April 7, but postponed to Wednesday because of weather.

“The most important thing is we want people to know that the HIV/AIDS crisis is still a reality, especially in the African American community,” said Johnny Ford, NBLCA board chair and former Tuskegee mayor.

“It’s not as well publicized as it was at one point. What we are urging people to do, is please get tested. While there’s not a definite cure for HIV/AIDS, there’s medicine available for them to live and live with it.”

The Southern Region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The states account for “40 percent of all HIV diagnoses while containing only 28 percent of the U.S. population, according to HIV/AIDs in the US Deep South, 2017, with the black population in these states bearing the brunt of this epidemic, said Ford.

“The message we want to put out there is that there are too many people who are dying from HIV/AIDS right here in Alabama,” he said.