LONGVIEW, TX (KSLA) - The Resource Group is on a mission to end HIV in Texas. The group’s Achieving Together plan for 2019 is a detailed description of how community and education can bring this epidemic to an end.
One of those initiatives is community meetings open to the public to raise HIV awareness throughout the state.
"How can we cultivate communities to bring this awareness out to where we can eventually achieve together to end HIV in Texas?”
That’s the question The Resource Group’s Health Planner Sha’Terra Johnson-Fairley asks each community she visits.
Allies, activists and health care providers gathered to speak freely about the unique challenges they face combating the HIV epidemic in east Texas.
A central theme in the room was focused on understanding the narratives of those at high risk to contract the virus and to empower those currently living with the virus through education about the disease.
The group most affected and least likely to get the treatment they need was Black women. In fact, Black Texans are disproportionately affected by the virus compared to any other races.
One theory discussed in the group as a huge contributing factor for these numbers was systemic racism within the healthcare system, a national issue.
Another major challenge in HIV awareness is the lack of current education.
"People need to know what’s going on with HIV today and not in 1980. HIV has really changed, testing has changed. For instance, today we found out people are still using western blot testing when we should be using more recent testing to see, detect and diagnose people earlier and more efficiently,” says Johnson-Fairley.
To find out more about The Resource Group or to join Achieving Together at a community meeting near you click here.