The stigma of HIV/AIDS runs rampant through the rural South, often posing an obstacle for people seeking testing and treatment. Because the stigma is typically worse in religious communities, AIDS Alabama aims to educate and create awareness in those communities. It facilitates a dialogue between the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Southern blacks living with HIV to foster awareness and understanding.
With support of church programming and involvement, AIDS Alabama creates meaningful, evidence-based conversations about HIV/AIDS. Panel discussions are led by people living with HIV following a one-hour education session (HIV 101). The panelists discuss how HIV has affected them — not only humanizing HIV for the religious community, but empowering others with HIV to stop living in shame or hiding. One conversation at a time, AIDS Alabama is helping reduce the stigma around HIV, bringing us one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic in the Deep South.