Wednesday, February 7th,marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States. Many organizations, churches and private citizens are going to African American communities to help educate people about protecting themselves against the disease.
Frank Sullivan, the director of the Medical Clinic of the Heath Education Resource Organization, HERO, in Baltimore, Maryland, explained how the face of AIDS has changed over the years.
“It changed in the sense of shifting into the black community and shifting into black females, into black women, who are mostly contracting it through heterosexual contact,” he said. Sullivan added the women are often unaware that their partner is HIV positive. “It is an unsuspecting situation for the women.”
Sullivan said the key to reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS is going into the communities and educating the people. “We’ve been here (in Baltimore) because of the dominance of our patients and educating through the churches and community organizations,” he said. Sullivan explained his organization, HERO, has staff that travel into communities in a van equipped for testing, counseling and referrals. At the time of this interview the van was heading to a large church in West Baltimore for HIV testing, at the churches request.