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2005-11-30-Clergy Slowly Begin To Address HIV/AIDS in Black Community, USA
The "delicate" issue of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among black people in the US has been largely ignored by black clergy, but some ministers are slowly beginning to discuss the issue, the Biloxi Sun Herald reports. Black people account for 12% of the U.S. population but represent 40% of the HIV-positive population in the country and 50% of new cases, according to CDC.
However, some ministers are reluctant to talk about the disease because it requires discussing "sensitive topics," such as drug use, homosexuality and extra-marital sex, the Sun Herald reports.
Rev. Carlton Veazey, who founded the Black Church Initiative, said some older, more conservative clergy members lack compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS because of literal interpretations of the Bible. However, some ministers are "beginning to take a stand, preaching tolerance, creating AIDS ministries and even opening up their churches for HIV testing," according to the Sun Herald.
Robert Fullilove, who has written numerous studies about AIDS and minority health, said he has seen a "fundamental shift" in the response to the epidemic among black clergy. "Churches are increasing their involvement, as more and more high-profile black ministers openly preach not just about AIDS and sexuality, but also about homosexuality," Fullilove said (Gale, Biloxi Sun Herald, 11/27).