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April 30, 2001

'Brothers' conference to focus on AIDS prevention

By Tia Webster


Although African Americans represent only an estimated 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than a third of all AIDS cases reported in the country, the highest of any other racial and ethnic group.

A report from the HIV/AIDS Prevention Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes that local community leaders should take the lead in providing HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment education to help combat the growing epidemic among African Americans.

“The AIDS crisis within the African American community is disturbing and unacceptable, given widespread advances in HIV and AIDS treatment and survival,” said James Curran, director of the Emory-Atlanta Center for AIDS Research and dean of the School of Public Health. “Throughout its history, the African American community has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to create strong bonds in the face of adversity, and this epidemic presents an urgent opportunity for its members to unite in defeating this disease.”

Emory Healthcare is hosting a free conference titled, “Brothers…It’s Time To Be Responsible,” to inform the African American community about HIV/AIDS. The May 5 event is the fifth in Emory’s annual “Brothers” minority health series, which focuses on African American men but welcomes the entire public.

A lot of attention is being paid to the situation in Africa but is somewhat lacking in local communities. The astounding rate of HIV/AIDS cases in the African American community continues to swell despite the healthcare infrastructure, the availability of technology and the vast amount of information in America.

“Our preoccupation with Africa and AIDS is pretty consistent with how we process other perplexing and unpleasant issues,” said Don Speaks, associate director of Emory Healthcare’s Office of Community Affairs and Market Development. “It’s always easier to help someone else than it is to acknowledge that we need help too.”

Workshops at the “Brothers” conference will focus on prevention of HIV/AIDS in men, women, youth and infants. The highlight will be a series of interactive workshops on intervention strategies focused on changing the recent HIV infection patterns.

The event is co-sponsored at Emory by the School of Public Health, the School of Nursing and the Vaccine Research Center. Community sponsors include the Georgia departments of Commun-ity Health and Public Health; Planned Parenthood of Georgia; Outreach Inc.; AID Atlanta; the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention; WSB-TV’s “Family 2 Family” program; the Fulton County Health Department; the DeKalb Prevention Alliance; the DeKalb County Health Depart-ment; the DeKalb chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Girl’s Incorporated of Greater Atlanta.

The “Brothers” conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Decatur. For more information or to register (May 3 deadline), call 404-778-3033 or visit


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