Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Brown University Professor reaching out to Chester clergy on HIV issues

Dr. Amy Nunn of Brown University is in Philadelphia piloting a revolutionary HIV prevention program in collaboration with the Philadelphia black clergy. She has reached out to The Chester City Blog to determine if the Chester black clergy is interested in joining this program. If so, Dr. Nunn is anxious to talk with you. She will be monitoring this post for your comments of interest. 
Several US neighborhoods have HIV infection rates surpassing those of Sub-Saharan Africa. Hepatitis C, moreover, may be up to 10 times more prevalent in urban communities than HIV.
HIV testing should be the backbone of any strategy to engage African American clergy in HIV prevention and is the core premise of an effort led by Amy Nunn, a faculty member at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. 
She also has launced Do One Thing campaign which is the first of its kind in the country and aims to both dramatically stimulate demand for and provide HIV and HCV testing in a target neighborhood in South West Philadelphia for a limited time. 
The public health community has long struggled with how best to reduce HIV infection rates among black Americans, which is seven times that of whites.

In Philadelphia, African-American clergy say they are ready to join the fight against the disease by focusing on HIV testing, treatment, and social justice, a strategy that is compatible with religious teaching.
“We in public health have done a poor job of engaging African-American community leaders and particularly black clergy members in HIV prevention. There is a common misperception that African American churches are unwilling to address the AIDS epidemic.” said Amy Nunn.
Many religious leaders acknowledged that they’ve struggled with how best to combat the epidemic, particularly with challenges related to discussing human sexuality in church or mosque. Many clergy members also said they face significant barriers to preaching about risk behaviors without still emphasizing abstinence.
"For decades, we’ve focused many HIV prevention efforts on reducing risky behavior", says Nunn. Leaders are, in fact, willing to engage in dialogue and HIV prevention if you do it in a culturally appropriate and faith-friendly way. They suggested couching the HIV/AIDS epidemic in social justice rather than behavioral terms.
Click HERE for more http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2012/05/hiv
Amy Nunn, ScD, MS, is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Nunn is an expert in HIV prevention research related to health disparities and HIV/AIDS, HIV testing, concurrent sexual relationships, and how to best link people living with HIV/AIDS to treatment and care services. 
Dr. Nunn is a passionate advocate and has worked on HIV prevention in Philadelphia for the last five years. She has also partnered with dozens of faith-based leaders and other community leaders in AIDS advocacy in recent years, and her 2010 HIV prevention and testing campaign conducted in partnership with dozens of black clergy received widespread media attention and the endorsements of the region’s major newspapers. In 2011, she established Philly Faith in Action, a coalition of over 60 black clergy members committed to promoting HIV testing, fighting AIDS stigma, and ending racial disparities in HIV infection in Philadelphia. 

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