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.
2014 Faithwalk and Al Ichiki 5K
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, Samaritan Ministry will host its 3rd annual FaithWalk and Al Ichiki 5k. The FaithWalk and Al Ichiki 5k will take place in downtown Knoxville on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. The purpose of our event is to bring members of the community together, regardless of individual beliefs or church affiliation, to take a stand against the stigmas associated with HIV, raise awareness, and spread love. Our event is named after the late Dr. Al Ichiki, a renowned researcher at UT Medical Center who pioneered HIV testing in our community and played a significant role in the early growth of Samaritan Ministry. We are honored that Dr. Al’s family has allowed us to memorialize our friend and mentor in this way.
Donations and race proceeds will be used to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in our community and help those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as to support the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, and Smoky Mountain Lions Charities.
Registration is now underway! Click here to sign up: https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Knoxville/Faithwalk
HIV in the South
Many writers, activists and researchers are beginning to talk about our domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic as a “Southern Epidemic”, reflecting a layered set of circumstances leading to a deepening southern disparity when it comes to HIV in the Southern States. Highlighting this view, and the building evidence, is a White House call for a joint meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services on June 18th.
Statistics ARE disturbing.
“In 2011 the Southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas made up 37% of the U.S. population yet accounted for 49% of all new HIV/AIDS cases. These targeted states also had the highest new HIV diagnosis rates. Seven of the metropolitan areas with populations of at least 500,000 with the highest HIV diagnosis rates, were in these targeted Southern states. They also have the highest number of individuals living with HIV, death rates greater than the U.S. average, and the highest STI (sexually transmitted infection) rates.”
The above quote is from HIV Specialist. You can read the entire article at www.aahivm.org. The article also discusses reasons for this disparity, including poverty, lack of access to care, stigma, and religious discrimination.
Ignorance about HIV treatment and care is not reserved to the general public. The author, a North Carolina MD and HIV specialist, discusses the continued ignorance within the medical community, and the need for an upgrade in knowledge of current standards, practices, and guidelines.
It seems that this ongoing epidemic deserves greater attention in the South. What is our response going to be?
Samaritan Ministry Takes on Hepatitis C
As with HIV, many advances have been made in the treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV). We care about this because there are several links between HIV and HCV.
- There are some similar risk factors for both viruses, although sexual transmission of HCV is uncommon.
- As many as 25% of those infected with HIV are also infected with HCV. We call this coinfection. So, many of the clients we work with are also battling HCV.
- HIV and HCV testing are both available in non-clinical settings, so we are now equipped to provide both tests, and frequently we offer both when we are in a testing setting in the community.
- HCV Treatment is improving and this is great news for those that are coinfected.
What we also have learned is that Hepatitis C is at epidemic proportions in the U.S. and it is not getting much attention. We have seen the new TV commercial about Hepatitis C, but it is just not talked about in spite of some alarming statistics.
Samaritan Ministry is teaching about HCV, and providing testing in our community. For more information about Hepatitis C, please click here.