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AACO hosts third annual Black HIV/AIDS Luncheon

3/7/2014, 6 a.m.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health recently hosted the Third Annual Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Luncheon at the Anne Arundel ...
HIV/STD Prevention and Care Program Manager Jennifer Schneider welcomes attendees to the Third Annual Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Luncheon. Photo: Joseph Pate/Dept of Health

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health recently hosted the Third Annual Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Luncheon at the Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. The program's theme was "Building Hope: Developing a Faith-based HIV Ministry." The event provided an opportunity for more than 30 religious and community organizations to network in order to create stronger HIV awareness ministries around the county.

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Dr. Craig N. Coates, senior pastor of the Fresh Start Church in Glen Burnie, gives opening remarks.

Presenters included Reverend Dr. Patricia D. Johnson of the Mount Zion-Fowler Cooperative Parish and Carolyn Massey from the New Samaritan Baptist Church. HIV/STD Prevention and Care Program Administrator James Leber with the Department of Health provided demographic statistics.

There were 1,311 newly diagnosed adult/adolescent HIV cases at the end of 2011 in Maryland. African-American men who have sex with men accounted for the greatest proportion of new HIV diagnoses (34.1 percent), followed by African-American heterosexual females (16.6 percent), and African-American heterosexual males (13.2 percent).

"Faith-based organizations are an important asset in community health education," said Department of Health HIV/STD Prevention and Care Program Manager Jennifer Schneider. "These organizations can reach people within diverse communities, understand their needs, foster trust and encourage involvement."

For more information about HIV education, testing, treatment and support groups, visit www.aahealth.org/hiv/aids or call 410-222-7108.