The impact of AIDS and HIV on the black community was on the minds of several Syracuse leaders. They met Wednesday night in a town hall meeting. As our Iris St. Meran explains, the conversation provided hope for families struggling with the disease, and information to others about the resources available.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- About 50,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year according to the CDC. It's a number these members of the Syracuse community want to decrease and eliminate all together. Wednesday, members of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS held a town hall meeting for neighbors to answer their questions.
Syracuse Black Leadership Commission on AIDS Chair Erik Eure said, "We don't talk as much about AIDS and HIV as we used to. We want people to know there are still a lot of resources available, the world has not gone to sleep on their concerns and their needs and we want to help them get the resources they need."
From prevention to treatment, Eure says everyone is a stakeholder in the fight against the disease.
"It's important to stay in touch with the community as well as hear from the community, especially people who are affected by AIDS and HIV,” Eure added, “When someone gets this life changing news, it not only effects them, the patient, but their family and friends."
There was a presentation about new research and medications available to patients, but the dialogue went beyond this disease.
Two-point-six million New Yorkers are without health insurance. One presenter discussed what can be expected from the Affordable Care Act, many provisions in the health care reform will take effect at the beginning of the year.
Health advocate Lanika Mabrey said, "A lot of people are fearful when they hear I'm required to have health insurance. I can't afford it. This presentation actually addressed that. It addressed the fears."
The goal was to calm everyone's fears about a number of topics and inform them so they can make healthy choices.