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Spike in HIV/AIDS cases in Onondaga County, Clergy Hold Summit

Area Clergy and Religious Leaders Host Ground breaking Summit to Combat HIV/AIDS

(Syracuse , NY ). The Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (SBLCA) of Syracuse held the first Clergy and Community Leaders Summit on Friday, June, 18 2010. . The Clergy and Community Leaders Summit brought together a broad cross-section of religious leaders and ministry workers from all denominations including Christians, Muslim, Jewish and others to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The all day conclave was held at Sheraton University Hotel and Conference Center.

“We are pleased to break down walls and create an environment to support within the faith community to support families and individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, “says Rev. Chauncey Brown, President, of the Syracuse Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. “Workshop facilitators will led discussions on the special role of religious leaders in overcoming stigma and discrimination, concerns of clergy in addressing HIV/AIDS, and public policy advocacy”, says Brown.

The goal of the Conclave is to build the capacity of religious leaders and lay persons to address this issue from the pulpit, establish HIV/AIDS ministries, and to engage clergy to become foot soldiers in the advocacy efforts to fight the epidemic in the Syracuse region’s communities of color.

There has been an increase in the number of newly identified cases of HIV in men under the age of 25 in Onondaga County . Officials are now reporting a total of ten newly infected individuals including three teenagers. All of the men self-identify as being men having sex with men (MSM) or as being bisexual. These newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals are primarily from communities of color.

The BLCA of Syracuse is dedicated to educating, organizing, and empowering Black leadership; clergy in particular.

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