An HIV Ministry in Knoxville, TN
Our church should be a beacon of light and hope for anyone who suffers from or has family or friends who suffer from this disease.
AIDS – 35 Years Later
In advance of the 35th anniversary on Sunday, June 5, of the first reported cases of what would become known as AIDS in the United States, AIDS.gov sat down with two federal leaders in our response to HIV/AIDS to hear their reflections on this milestone.
On June 5, 1981 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), describing cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. All the men have other unusual infections as well, indicating that their immune systems are not working; two have already died by the time the report is published. This edition of the MMWR marks the first official reporting of what will become known as the AIDS epidemic.
On June 5, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times reported on the MMWR. On June 6, the San Francisco Chronicle covered the story. Within days, doctors from across the U.S. flooded CDC with reports of similar cases.
Read the AIDS.gov blog about this important anniversary here.
HIV Day on the Hill
On February 23rd, Wayne traveled to Nashville to be a part of HIV Day on the Hill. The Tennessee AIDS Advocacy Network (TAAN), is an annual event designed to put HIV advocates (and those living with HIV) in front of their elected officials. It is a great event and every citizen should have this opportunity to meet their elected representatives, even for a brief visit. TANN organized more than 30 people from across the state for Day on the Hill. We would like to thank Jo Interrante (Nashville CARES) and Scotty Campbell (TANN) for organizing a productive day for all of us.
There were no bills in the legislature for which we were seeking support. Our visits were solely about keeping the HIV conversation in place, and to make it clear to our legislators that HIV still exists in Tennessee and that it affects our friends and our neighbors.
Wayne was able to visit with Senators Becky Massy and Richard Briggs, and State Representatives Roger Kane, Martin Daniel, and Joe Armstrong. These visits were informative and important.
Tennessee Department of Health Issues Public Health Advisory for Hepatitis C
On July 27th, the Tennessee Department of Health issued a Public Health Advisory concerning Hepatitis C. All Tennesseans must be concerned when, according to the Commissioner of Health, “In addition to reported cases of acute Hepatitis C it is estimated that more than 100,000 Tennesseans may be living with chronic Hepatitis C and not know it.” Please click here to read the Press Release.
Samaritan Ministry has been taking a leadership position in Tennessee regarding Hepatitis C. In addition to non-clinical HCV antibody testing since September of 2013, Samaritan Ministry has hosted training and community events to raise awareness about this important threat to public health.
What can you do?
Get tested. If you were born between 1945 and 1965 you are at risk, because tissue and blood donations were not properly screened during these years.
Get tested. If you have used drugs via injection or snorted drugs, you may be at risk.
Get tested. If you have tattoos that were done in a less that sterile environment, you may be at risk.
Pray. Many people faced with HCV infection are voiceless and powerless. They need your prayer so they can address addiction, seek help, and find compassionate and caring people to offer support.
Get involved. Call your state legislator and let them know of your concern. Our community needs the forces of our state government to address this epidemic.
Learn more. Connect with the Tennessee Department of Health using the links in the press release.
If you want a free, confidential, Hepatitis C test, contact Samaritan Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samaritan Ministry supports FAITH Coalition Event
The FAITH Coalition is a community group made up of individuals from local agencies, churches and ministries dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in Knoxville. In June, the FAITH Coalition hosted an event called “Lift Every Voice: on Faith, Hope and Facing HIV/AIDS.” Samaritan Ministry is proud to be a part of the FAITH Coalition and sponsor their event.
Marvelyn Brown, author and HIV/AIDS activist shared her inspiring story. Samaritan Ministry worked with the Knox County Health Department to offer free HIV testing to those in attendance.
Here are a few pictures from the event: