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Nora Grannell
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City Uprising Block Party and Health Fair to Mark National HIV Testing Day

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Volunteers test Baltimoreans for HIV at annual City Uprising Block Party and Health Fair.
 Volunteers test Baltimoreans for HIV at annual City Uprising Block Party and Health Fair.

On Saturday, June 28 the JACQUES Initiative, a program of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in partnership with the Gallery Church of Baltimore and HopeSprings is launching Baltimore’s 6th Annual City Uprising Block Party and Health Fair to commemorate this year’s National HIV Testing Day – June 27.  With the help of more than 500 volunteers, the day-long initiative aims to test more than 800 community members for HIV at 5 Baltimore City sites, located in zip codes with Maryland’s highest rates of HIV and other health disparities. In collaboration with the University of Maryland Baltimore’s academic and clinical campus, additional community services will include linkage to health care, blood pressure screening, health lifestyle education, medication counseling, case management services, oral cancer screening, and oral health education.

“We are aiming for an all-inclusive approach by holding this year’s National HIV Testing Day event on a Saturday,” said Derek Spencer, Executive Director of IHV’s JACQUES Initiative.  “Our community partners are opening their doors and hosting block parties with games, music and entertainment to raise awareness of much needed health services in areas of our city disproportionately impacted by HIV and other chronic health issues.”

An astonishing 1 in 43 persons over the age of 13 in Baltimore is living with HIV. National trends demonstrate prevalence of HIV is higher among persons without a high school education and employment, persons living below the poverty line, and the homeless. Recent studies indicate that when individuals with HIV are properly treated, they are 96% less likely to spread the disease to others. Unfortunately, less than 25% of Baltimoreans with HIV are successfully treated.

This year’s event will have a special focus on engaging young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth aged 13-24 made up 26% of the nation’s 50,199 new HIV diagnoses in 2011. Almost 60% of HIV-positive youth do not know they are infected. Young gay and bisexual men made up more than 70% of the new infections in youth. Of the 1,311 reported HIV diagnosis during 2011 in Maryland, 284 (21.7) were among youth 13-24.

The main theme of the event this year is “All welcome, however you live or love!”  Specifically, the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community will be engaged at the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church location.  The Church will extend testing hours into the evening and host the 2013/2014 King and Queen Baltimore Gay Pride Event, among other LGBTQ youth community leaders including Baltimore Native D.J. Rosie and other local musicians and poets.

WHERE: *Sites open to press with designated timeframe.

                 Martin Pollack Project, Inc. (*12pm-4pm)

                 3701 Eastern Ave. 21224 (12pm-6pm)

                 Payne Memorial AME (*12pm-4pm)

                1714 Madison Ave. 21217 (12pm-6pm)

                 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church (*5pm-9pm)

                 210 W. Madison Ave. (4pm-9pm)

                 Report to the “Photo Tent”

                 St. Matthews New Life UMC

                 416 E. 23rd St. 21218 (12pm-6pm)

                  Unity United UMC

       1433 Edmonson Ave. 21223 (12pm-6pm)