FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown
Lowery Brown brings attention to the AIDS epidemic
PHILADELPHIA, March 30 --State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., marched in the Fourth Annual HIV/AIDS March in the Belmont and Mantua sections of the city on March 26 to help bring attention to the terrible toll the disease has taken on Philadelphia, and the black community in particular.
"AIDS is an epidemic and is spreading through Philadelphia at an alarming rate," Lowery Brown said. "The rate of infection in Philadelphia is five times higher than the national average. That's unacceptable because it is preventable."
Lowery Brown added the disease has hit Philadelphia's African-American community particularly hard.
"More than 65 percent of Philadelphians who have aids are black," she said. "But we can slow the spread of AIDS by bringing attention to and sharing information about the disease and the toll it has taken on the African-American community. The goal of this march was to prevent another infection in West Philadelphia and to raise awareness of the incidence of AIDS in relation to African-Americans."
With the Conestoga Angels Precision Marching Band stepping and drumming throughout the route, Arthur White, pastor of Christ Community Baptist Church and march organizer said: “We need to wake people up to give them information and to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, its presence and its impact in the 19104 zip code of West Philadelphia. This is important because this zip code ranks sixth of the top 10 hotspots for HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia."
Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a nonprofit organization, offered on-site HIV/AIDS testing, providing results to residents within 20 minutes.
"That testing is important to stop the spread of this disease," Lowery Brown said. "About one in every five people infected with HIV does not know it."