Faith leaders in Jackson uniting to end HIV epidemic in the city

In this campaign, pastors are working with Crosswords Clinic in Jackson and Dr. Thomas Dobbs with UMMC to provide more preventive measures and resources as well as treatment.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 7:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Faith leaders are coming together to end the HIV epidemic in the capital city. The new campaign is called “Mississippi Faith in Action,” a new city-wide initiative hoping to increase testing, prevention, and treatment.

“Jackson has some of the highest HIV rates in the country, and I think there is a common misconception that this is only something that happens to gay folks or people other than ourselves,” Dr. Amy Nunn, with the Brown University School of Health, said.

Dozens of local pastors and bishops packed out the Bennie Thompson auditorium on the campus of Tougaloo College to use their spiritual influence to stop the spread of the virus in the city.

“Regardless of quote on quote their lifestyle or whatever it is but you go and be that loving person and give good care,” Bishop Ronnie Crudup with New Horizon Church said. “There is no doubt that this is the right fight and I’m particularly pleased that we can start talking about ending this epidemic in Jackson, Mississippi.”

Jackson ranks number six in the country with the highest in HIV cases.

In this campaign, pastors are working with Crosswords Clinic in Jackson and Dr. Thomas Dobbs with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to provide more preventive measures, resources, and treatment.

“It’s really prevalent here,” Dr. Dobbs said. “Even though people in Jackson don’t have necessarily risky behavior than other cities, because so many people have it already, the risk is a lot higher. So, if we can just get in there and help people prevent, and get people diagnosed and get affective treatment, it makes folks not be able to spread it.”

Others say it’s important if you are living with the disease to seek all available treatments and medications to live a long and healthy life.

“I been living with this disease since 1997, I’ve not had any issues, my children were born without the virus because I did have one child during that time,” a resident said.

With Jackson in the heart of the Bible Belt, Dr. Dobbs says African American Churches can play an important role in helping to promote HIV prevention and care.

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