In State of the Union, President Bush Pledges to Work With African American Churches to Address HIV/AIDS

The Balm In Gilead CEO is Special Guest of First Lady During Address



Feb 01, 2006, 00:00 ET from The Balm In Gilead

    NEW YORK, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In his fifth State of the Union address,
 last night President Bush highlighted the HIV/AIDS public health crisis and
 committed to working with African American churches.  Pernessa C. Seele,
 Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead and a pioneer in mobilizing Black faith
 communities to address HIV/AIDS, was invited to sit in the First Lady's Box as
 a symbol of the President's commitment.
     In his speech, President Bush said: "We will also lead a nationwide
 effort, working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups,
 to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come
 closer to the day when there are no new infections in America."
     According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS is the
 leading cause of death among African American women ages 24 to 34.  It is
 among the top three causes of death for Black men ages 25-54.  Contributing to
 this alarming picture is the fact that 61 percent of new AIDS cases are among
 African American teens and young women. "HIV/AIDS is a public health crisis in
 the African American community," said Seele.  "Today, I am happy that the
 President of the United States is paying attention to the crisis and
 acknowledging the vital role faith communities can play in eliminating it.  I
 hope the Administration will disburse sufficient funding to build the capacity
 of African American churches to carry out this responsibility."
 
     The Balm In Gilead, Inc.(TM) is a 501(c) (3), not-for-profit organization
 whose mission is to improve the health status of people of the African
 Diaspora by building the capacity of faith communities to address
 life-threatening diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. The Balm In Gilead, implements
 innovative programs nationally and overseas.  This includes The Black Church
 Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, which will be observed for the 17th
 year from March 5-11, 2006.  This week of prayer, education and action engages
 Black congregations to help stop the spread of HIV in Black communities
 worldwide and to care for those affected by the disease.  The Black Church
 Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is the largest AIDS awareness campaign
 targeting the African American community.
     Additionally, The Balm In Gilead operates the nation's only HIV/AIDS
 technical assistance center designed specifically to serve Black churches.
 The Center also assists public agencies and community-based organizations that
 wish to partner with Black churches on AIDS issues.
     The Balm In Gilead's other groundbreaking work in the African American
 faith community includes the African American Denominational Leadership Health
 Initiative.  Launched in March 2004, this historic partnership between the
 Balm In Gilead and the women's missionary societies and councils of three
 Black religious denominations -- The African Methodist Episcopal Church, The
 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and The Christian Methodist Episcopal
 Church -- is designed to build the capacity of these denominations to address
 cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS and other health issues in Black communities.
     The organization's international mission includes building the capacity of
 faith organizations in Cote d Ivoire, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya to address
 health crises, especially HIV/AIDS.
     To get more information on The Balm In Gilead, log onto the organization's
 Web site at http://www.balmingilead.org
 
 

SOURCE The Balm In Gilead
    NEW YORK, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In his fifth State of the Union address,
 last night President Bush highlighted the HIV/AIDS public health crisis and
 committed to working with African American churches.  Pernessa C. Seele,
 Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead and a pioneer in mobilizing Black faith
 communities to address HIV/AIDS, was invited to sit in the First Lady's Box as
 a symbol of the President's commitment.
     In his speech, President Bush said: "We will also lead a nationwide
 effort, working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups,
 to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come
 closer to the day when there are no new infections in America."
     According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS is the
 leading cause of death among African American women ages 24 to 34.  It is
 among the top three causes of death for Black men ages 25-54.  Contributing to
 this alarming picture is the fact that 61 percent of new AIDS cases are among
 African American teens and young women. "HIV/AIDS is a public health crisis in
 the African American community," said Seele.  "Today, I am happy that the
 President of the United States is paying attention to the crisis and
 acknowledging the vital role faith communities can play in eliminating it.  I
 hope the Administration will disburse sufficient funding to build the capacity
 of African American churches to carry out this responsibility."
 
     The Balm In Gilead, Inc.(TM) is a 501(c) (3), not-for-profit organization
 whose mission is to improve the health status of people of the African
 Diaspora by building the capacity of faith communities to address
 life-threatening diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. The Balm In Gilead, implements
 innovative programs nationally and overseas.  This includes The Black Church
 Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, which will be observed for the 17th
 year from March 5-11, 2006.  This week of prayer, education and action engages
 Black congregations to help stop the spread of HIV in Black communities
 worldwide and to care for those affected by the disease.  The Black Church
 Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is the largest AIDS awareness campaign
 targeting the African American community.
     Additionally, The Balm In Gilead operates the nation's only HIV/AIDS
 technical assistance center designed specifically to serve Black churches.
 The Center also assists public agencies and community-based organizations that
 wish to partner with Black churches on AIDS issues.
     The Balm In Gilead's other groundbreaking work in the African American
 faith community includes the African American Denominational Leadership Health
 Initiative.  Launched in March 2004, this historic partnership between the
 Balm In Gilead and the women's missionary societies and councils of three
 Black religious denominations -- The African Methodist Episcopal Church, The
 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and The Christian Methodist Episcopal
 Church -- is designed to build the capacity of these denominations to address
 cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS and other health issues in Black communities.
     The organization's international mission includes building the capacity of
 faith organizations in Cote d Ivoire, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya to address
 health crises, especially HIV/AIDS.
     To get more information on The Balm In Gilead, log onto the organization's
 Web site at http://www.balmingilead.org
 
 SOURCE  The Balm In Gilead