Bringing awareness to a silent epidemic in African American communities

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SARASOTA – February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Keenan Jenkins didn’t know there was a virus plaguing his community.

“On a normal conversation, it’s not even brought up, it wasn’t brought up to me until my senior year in high school,” said Jenkins. He is the Operations Specialist at CAN Community Health.

Already being judged for the color of their skin, Jenkins says it’s a label the black community doesn’t want, to be HIV positive.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it, they shy away from the subject, it’s a touchy subject,” said Jenkins.

At 26 years old, he reflects on his past and the people he’s met.

“It shocking that  there’s a possibility that a lot of my friends and previous partners could have possibly had HIV or came in contact with someone or any type of HIV,” he said.

Today commemorates the 18th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NBHAAD). The primary goal of #NBHAAD is to…

Posted by CAN Community Health on Wednesday, February 7, 2018

In 2016, the CD  reported more than 10,000 white people were diagnosed with the HIV virus, compared to more than 17,000 African Americans diagnosed.

“I think lack of education and lack of education is the two main reasons why it affects the African American and all minorities,” said Jenkins.

Spreading the message and encouraging others to do the same.

“I’ve actually taken a couple of my friends to get tested with me just because I’m in health care and I know the importance of it and I know lot more than I did, so when you know better you do better,” said Jenkins.

Saturday, February 10th, at Fred Atkins Park, CAN Community Health is offering free HIV/ AIDS testing and flu shots. The event is from 12 to 4 P.M. and there will be free food, music and activities.

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Nadine Young
Nadine Young is a multi-media journalist. She joined the SNN news team in March of 2017. Nadine is no stranger to Florida, although born in New York she attended high school and college here. Nadine graduated from the University of South Florida in December of 2017, with a degree in Mass Communications with a focus in Broadcast News and a minor in Psychology. During her time at USF, she interned at FOX 13 news and News Channel 8 in Tampa. Nadine is an avid basketball fan, loves finding new places to eat, and spending time with her family and friends. Nadine loves to meet new people and listen to their stories. If you have a story idea, or if you’d just like to say hello, you can contact Nadine via email at Nadine.Young@snntv.com.

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