East Texas ministers set meeting about HIV/AIDS education
Local ministers will hear from state officials and other pastors Saturday, who will discuss the need to educate congregations about HIV/AIDs at the Tyler Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2000 W. Gentry Parkway.
The ministers' roundtable is hosted by MPowering Women Over HIV Regional Coalition and the Department of State Health Services.
Mpowering Women is a group of community leaders who provide outreach programs targeting African American women, who are disproportionately affected by HIV.
Dr. Jeanette Calhoun, executive director of Tyler AIDS Services, said the purpose of the event is to invite more churches to get involved with HIV awareness, as well as embracing those who are living with the disease.
"There's a problem with the stigma, still," she said.
The roundtable coincides with National Week of Prayer for the Health of AIDS, which brings national attention to the disease. Each year, the Black Faith-based Health Initiative leads activities during this observance.
Including churches in the dialogue about HIV/AIDS has been an obstacle for many advocates.
"We know that where we made a difference it was because the church has been involved," Dr. Calhoun said.
The event begins at 9 a.m. and will feature Minister Joseph Collins, who serves on the City of Austin's HIV Planning Council. The roundtable is open to the general public and will conclude by 5 p.m.