New Orleans pastor fights back against HIV
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It's important for community leaders to get involved in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV. That's because many individuals may be more likely to listen when a respected member of the community urges them to get tested for STDs, compared to a public service announcement tells them to do so. Recently, The Times-Picayune, a Louisiana news source, published an article describing how one local pastor is working to combat sexual infections and encouraging people to visit STD testing centers in New Orleans.
Pastor Bruce Davenport urges the members of his nondenominational church to exhibit caution when they engage in sexual activity. Around his congregation, Davenport is affectionately known as "Da Condom Father," because he regularly goes door-to-door encouraging people to protect themselves against STDs and handing out condoms.
Davenport targets the African American community, since 73 percent of all new HIV cases in Louisana are found in this population. However, the pastor said there is another group he hopes to reach out to.
"While they have tested subjects ranging in age from 3 to 80, the church recognizes that more teenagers need to be tested. According to Davenport, teenagers are both the most sexually active group and the one that is the most misinformed about HIV," according to the news source.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that Davenport is right to be concerned about young people. According to the CDC, individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 make up only 25 percent of the sexually active population in the U.S., but represent half of all new STD infections each year.
The pastor's daughter, Tamachia Davenport, told the news source that she is often frustrated by the fact that so few religious groups have stepped up to help fight HIV. This is something she and her father hope to change by example.
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