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HIV-**** Has Not Gone Away!

HIV-**** Has Not Gone Away!
Posted By: Ibrahim Siddiq on April 30, 2021

I just completed a 4-day online introduction entitled, "The Faith Response to End the HIV Epidemic in Marion County Education Series." I was invited to participate by Masjid Al-Mumineen in Indianapolis. I had lived in Indianapolis during the early 1980s and still have a number of very close friends and associates with whom I try to maintain continuous contact.

The activity was sponsored by the Marion County Public Health Department. The presenters were from the Substance Use Outreach Services, based in Indianapolis.

As I currently live in Saudi Arabia, I initially had some reservations on participating because I felt that I would not be able to contribute much to the activity. However, over the four days, I had learned more about HIV and ****, as well as their continuing impact and threat to communities of concern than I had learned since the early **** information -- and mis-information -- that had been disseminated since the late 1980s, when **** was first discovered and identified as a potential health threat.

I finally understood the relationship -- and basic difference between HIV infection and **** diagnosis. While the issues of certain behaviors were clarified, it was useful to see, at least in Marion County, the support mechanisms available to promote education and awareness, and emphasize testing, diagnosis, and continuous treatment.

During the discussions, I had shared, that while HIV and **** were a health concern in Saudi Arabia, the incidences were not as prominent as in the US. One factor might be that certain lifestyles and behaviors are still not accepted in the conservative culture of Saudi society.

This activity was particularly interesting to me because since the beginning and attention given to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been much discussion-- that I am aware of -- regarding the continuing threat of HIV and ****, particularly in minority communities.

This concern should still be a high priority among young people, particularly in our HBCUs, so that not only do they pay attention to the guidelines for COVID-19 avoidance, but more critically, continue to pay attention to the threat of HIV transmission and **** infection that can have devastating effects on our communities.

In the final analysis, education, awareness, continuous testing, and mature behaviors can add much benefit to help stem the threat of HIV/**** not only in communities of color, but throughout all communities.

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