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PRESS RELEASE Harlem United logo For Immediate Release

Agency Contact:
Kitty Chan
Senior Director, Administration
(917) 435-8082
kchan@harlemunited.org

Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc.
306 Lenox Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10027
www.harlemunited.org

TAKING HIV TESTING TO THE PULPITS:

HARLEM UNITED TRAINS CLERGY AS HIV TESTERS

Community Initiative to Break Down Barriers to Testing

NEW YORK, June 21, 2010 - Veronica Webb, model/TV-personality and journalist, and Rev Terrance L. Kennedy, founder of New Hope for the World Ministries, will kick-off a new partnership between Harlem United Community AIDS Center and New Hope World Ministries to begin a community initiative to increase the number of individuals who know their HIV status. Clergy members have been trained by Harlem United to become HIV testers. Currently out of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. approximately 280,000 - 350,000 don't know that they have HIV.

The inaugural event will be held at 3 pm at Baptist House of Prayer (80-82 West 126th Street, NY, NY 10027) on Tuesday, June 22nd. Ms. Webb, long-time AIDS advocate and supporter of Harlem United," As an African American woman and as a mother, I think these ministers should be applauded for overcoming the taboos that religion has traditionally put on everything related to HIV/AIDS - sex, homosexuality, testing. This initiative acknowledges that it takes a community to curb the spread of HIV and we are all going to need to work together." The event will kick-off the agency's testing events throughout the city in honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27th.

This groundbreaking initiative brings together two non-traditional partners to address a growing crisis in the community. Last year, 18 ministers publicly tested for HIV, this year 12 became trained to become testers. "As Christians, we need to serve our community and deal with what is relevant now and future challenges. Healing and faith are intertwined to the point that this becomes the logical next step" said Rev Kennedy.

HIV/AIDS continues to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color with rates of new HIV diagnoses in Central Harlem that are more than twice those for New York City overall. Harlem United will draw from its experience providing quality HIV prevention services to the Harlem community to offer technical assistance and capacity building to ministers who agree to take part in the initiative at New Hope. The ministers are in the final stages of a six month training course to become testers. To avoid any gap in services Harlem United has been providing testing at all New Hope events. Last year Harlem United provided over 8,000 HIV tests to the community.

For almost three decades, Harlem United Community AIDS Center has provided high quality comprehensive HIV care, prevention and housing to clients regardless of race, socio-economic status or sexual orientation. For more information about Harlem United please visit www.harlemunited.org .

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