Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on February 7, 2012 · Page 10
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 10

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Jackson, Mississippi
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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Page 10
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ityle TUESDAY FEBRUARY 7,2012 Adopt a child: Patriaunna is searching for a loving ' : ' ' V H if 1 t I i THE CLARION-LEDGER CLARI0NLEDGER.COM r "5 : 1 J; 1! I. . If! si 3 J! f s 1 r A' V 'iv ' ', , , ' ' A positive HIV Advocate urges others not tested on Black HIVAIDS Awareness Day By Shandarta K. Posy lpOMyackMn garawtt com ' Cedric Sturdevant, 46, of : Brandon knows how bad the HIVAIDS crisis is among African Americans. f He's lived with the virus since 2005, nearly died in 2006 after ' notseekingtreatmentforayear ..and today his status is AIDS. But none of that means he's not living his life to the fullest. As a project coordinator and prevention specialist with My Brother's Keeper in Ridgeland, he spends his days discussing healthy relationships, safer sex practices among men and . women and primarily counseling young African-American . ...i i 11ICU WllUlldVC f ? i 1 - . i f spy unth mpn H " - lir ; r. rc the sector oftheU.S. population that in 2009 repre-' sented 73 percent of new infections among all black men, accordingto the Centers for Dis-, ease Control and Prevention. . Hell spend today at one of ' several sites in the metro area where My Brother's Keeper will i -offer free HIV testing for Nation-, . al Black HIVAIDS Awareness ' Day. Tonight, he'll see the play Before It Hits Homeset for 7:30 f p.raat Jackson State University's Rose McCoy Auditorium. The play, which tells the story of a jazz musician who is diagnosed with AIDS while having a pregnant fiancee and a male lover, promises tears and laugh-1 ter, according to Mark Hender-son, director of theater at JSU and founder of Maddrama Per- ' formance Troupe. Seven of its members comprise the play. ' "We're hoping to kind of have . a wake-up call to the African-American community," says Henderson, who expects the play to entertain, educate and inspire the audience. "It will J show how important it is to have compassion for those with HIV and (for everyone) to be careful of your decisions." Sturdevant counsels men of all ages in a support group he leads for HIV positive African-American men who have sex with men. Among the younger guys, ages 19-30, he is often referred to as "Mr. Ced" or "Dad." He has shared his story on national and local levels. Some guys reach out to him via Face-book or ask for him specifically when calling the center. Most are seeking help to live empowered lives with HIV. Charli Lewis, 21, of Hatties-burg is one of them. He's known for about a year that he is HIV positive and told his parents at age 16 he was gay. They've always been tremendously supportive. But contacting Sturdevant, , whom he calls "a father-figure," has given him the opportunity African Americans are the 'racialethnic group most ' affected by HIV. In 2009, African Ameri-'cans comprised 14 percent of the U.S. population but ' accounted for 44 percent of , afl new HIV infections. ABBY Fellow night-shift work-fcr? ers agree that others .j, y j:j win iMVrft-riioiuci aio about need to sleep during day, 7B Jot EllitTheClano-Ledgar Cedric Sturdevant, who has lived with HIV since 2005, is a trainerfacilitator at My Brother's Keeper in Ridgeland. He leads a support group for HIV positive African-American men who have sex with men and counsels men and women on practicing safer sex. Cedric Sturdevant lost close to 40 seeking HIV treatment for nearly a to become more educated and advocate for the cause. In October, he became a training facilitator with My Brother's Keeper Wellness Center in Jackson where he educates others about safer sex practices. "It's life altering, not life ending," Lewis says. In many instances, the guys who contact Sturdevant don't have the critical family support Lewis had. He has been the lone person some of the guys could reach out to during the most terrifying and pivotal moments of their lives telling family members they are gay or bisexual and HIV positive. "Some of the younger guys still have fear of disclosure (of Young African-American gay and bisexual men are especially at risk of HIV infection. In 2009, black men accounted for 70 percent of the estimated new HIV infections among all African Americans. Offer suggestions to rude friend to make her see that offending others won't lead to satisfactory responses or outcomes, 7B r-y( u 44 yWmm ? Special to The Clarion-Ledger pounds and almost died after not year in 2006. their HIV status) from family members after reaction from coming out of the closet," Sturdevant says. Revealing their sexual orientation and HIV status can mean being disowned by family and alienated by friends. He knows at least one young man whose entire family "turned their back on him" except his grandmother. Another guy was in college and had been HIV positive for two years without treatment because he didn't want someone coming into his dorm room and discovering his medications. But that's why Sturdevant is grateful for the job he has. Once the guys reach out to him, he can offer support to help them live In 2009, black men who have sex with men represented an estimated 73 percent of new infections among all black men, and 37 percent among all MSM. More new HIV infections occurred among young black MSM (aged 13-29) (fit UlTY III reader reminds parents and adults to pay closer attention to their surroundings to avoid injuring others, 6B We've got Ashley Pullen, MD to live in My Brotner's Keeper, a nonprofit designed to enhance health disparities among minorities and offer HIVAIDS education, is providing free HIV testing this week. For more information, call (601) 898-000 or visit www.mbkinc.org. Testing available as follows: Today Canton Community Center, 337 North Union St., Canton; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Magee Community Center, 115 1st Ave., Magee; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hinds Community College, 505 East Main St., Raymond; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday with HIV, including taking them to doctor's appointments if needed. Fortunately, Sturdevant had strong family support in 2006 when he finally told his mother of his status. She already knew he was gay. He found out his status while li ving in Texas with his partner of six years in 2005. Then he moved to Memphis to be closer to his then-teenage daughters. Despite his regular doctors visits to control diabetes, he never told anyone his status because he was afraid of hurting his than any other age and racial group of MSM. In 2009, black women accounted for 30 percent of the estimated new HIV infections among all African Americans; 85 percent of black women with HIV acquired HIV 'LIORE INSIDE D Hints from Heloise, 7B D Comics, 7-8B O Horoscope, 8B D TV listings, 6B your flu shot ready. Bruce Black, MD Bard Johnston, MD life fear, get Tougaloo College, 500 West County Line Road, Tougaloo; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday Copiah Community Col-lege, 525 Main Ave., Magee, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Building Bridges, an HIVAIDS awareness nonprofit in Jackson, will provide free testing at Jackson State University today and at Alcorn State University on Wednesday. For more information, call (60 1) 922-0 100 or visit www.bbims.org. The state Department of Health provides free testing at all health departments in the state. mom. After a year, he was getting weak. He had six swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea and couldn't keep food down. He also learned his ex-partner had died. A Delta native, his whole family visited him and prepared home-cooked meals to try to build his strength. Finally, he went to the hospital and stayed five hours to get his temperature down. Not long after getting home, his family brought him back to the hospital This time the doctor knew SeefflV.llA through heterosexual sex. A black man in Mississippi is four times more likely to be living with HIV than white men. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mississippi Department of Health 1 i t Baptist family Medicirie? Madison

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