UPDATE: National HIV / AIDS Awareness Day in Faith 2021

UPDATE August 30: You can watch the My faith. My story video, which debuted on August 29, in the Facebook post below:

Sunday August 29 marks National HIV / AIDS Awareness Day in the Faith (NFHAAD or FaithAIDSDay) 2021. Scheduled for the last Sunday in August, the event “addresses the stigma of HIV in all religious communities in the United States. United ”and“ encourages faith communities to take a stand against stigma in their congregations and raise awareness about HIV, ”according to FaithAIDSDay.com.

The centerpiece of this year’s awareness day is the documentary-style short My faith. My story. It will screen on Facebook at 4 p.m. EST on Sunday, August 29. A trailer for the film is embedded at the top of this article and in the link below. Register for the free screening on the My Faith Facebook events page. My story.

After the screening, a live question-and-answer session with people who participated in the film, including religious leaders, advocates and people living with HIV in the South.

The film and screening are the result of a partnership between National Faith HIV / AIDS Awareness Day, Southern AIDS Coalition, Wake Forest University Gilead COMPASS Initiative, RAHMA (Reaching All HIV+ Muslims in America) and the United States Conference on HIV Faith Coalition. The organizers have also created an Awareness Day Toolkit which you can download here in PDF format.

This is not the first time that many of these groups have collaborated. As POZ reported in February, Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, inaugurated a faith-based coordination center to fight HIV. This was made possible by a $ 5 million grant from Gilead Sciences’ COMPASS initiative (the name means “Commitment to Partnering in the Fight Against HIV / AIDS in Southern States”).

The National HIV / AIDS Awareness Day in Faith was launched by HIV-The negative ally Khadijah Abdullah and his non-profit organization, RAHMA. You can read more about her in the POZ “Fighting With Mercy” profile. Abdullah also wrote a HuffPost blog on RAHMA titled “Are You Woke Yet?

AIDS service organizations and community leaders across the country have planned many events around Awareness Day, like the event promoted by AIDS United in the tweet above. To find out what’s going on near you, or what you can participate in online, check with your local groups and search social media for the hashtags #FaithAIDSDay and #NFHAAD.

Why did the Awareness Day organizers focus this year’s Awareness Day on the South? “According to the US Census Bureau, the southern region of the United States represents about 40% of the US population, but accounts for 45% of all people living with HIV in the country and 51% of new diagnoses, more than any other. region. , explains the trailer for My faith. My story.

Further, the video continues: “Pew research reports that black Americans are the most religious racial ethnic group in the United States. This includes black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual people and people living with HIV in the South who rely on their personal faith to deal with health and wellness issues, but who are sometimes lacking. support to safely explore the intersection of HIV and faith in their community.

“We invite you to a safe space to tell stories where advocates, religious leaders and people living with HIV address the challenges inherent in responding to the HIV epidemic in the southern United States as individuals. and communities of faith. “

In addition, Friday August 20 marked the annual HIV / AIDS Awareness Day in the South (SHAAD). The event was started two years ago by the Southern AIDS Coalition because, as reported on SouthernSolution.org, “There is an HIV / AIDS crisis in the South. This reality forces us all to engage in collective, daring and innovative strategies to reduce these disparities.

To coincide with awareness day, researchers released the report “HIV in the US Deep South: Trends From 2008–2019”. Data from the report showed that the Deep South has the highest rate of new HIV cases and also experiences the highest rate of HIV-related deaths.

The Deep South is made up of the following nine states, which share similar cultures: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The other southern states are Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

For more details on the report, including nine takeaways, see “Which regions of the United States have the highest death rate from HIV diagnosis?”

Click on the hashtag #Faith for a collection of POZ articles on the subject. You’ll find headlines such as “Watch People of Faith Renew Their Fight Against HIV and COVID-19,” “From Alabama to Africa, Faith Fuels Aquarius Gilmer’s Advocacy” and “Walking in Purpose : Joyce Turner Kelly Fights HIV Stigma in the Church. “

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