The JACQUES Initiative, a program of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in partnership with
Greater Than AIDS, Community (a Walgreens Pharmacy), Lexington Pharmacy, HopeSprings and the Gallery Church of Baltimore, is launching Baltimore’s 7th Annual City Uprising Health Fair on June 25-27 to commemorate this year’s National HIV Testing Day designated on June 27. With the help of close to 100 volunteers, the initiative aims to test more than 200 community members for HIV at 2 Baltimore City sites, located in a zip code with one of Maryland’s highest rates of HIV and other health disparities. In collaboration with the University of Maryland Baltimore’s academic and clinical campus, additional community services will include linkage to health care, blood pressure screening, health lifestyle education, medication counseling, case management services, oral cancer screening, and oral health education.
“We believe to change a city, we must engage the city,” said Christopher Williams, Director of Case Management and Mental Health and Interim Executive Director at the JACQUES Initiative. “By channeling partnerships with our University of Maryland
Baltimore (UMB) campus leaders, we are able to mobilize the wealth of resources to provide direct services to the community and address the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy as a city.” This event embodies these goals directly in our community.
According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a staggering 1 in 42 citizens of Baltimore over the age of 13 is infected with HIV. As mentioned, the event takes place in the 21201 zip code, where the rate of infection nearly doubles: 1 in 23 people over the age of 13 are living with HIV. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released by the Obama Administration in July 2010, includes three primary goals: reduce new HIV infections; increase access to care; and, reduce HIV-related health inequities.
The JACQUES Initiative expects to reach citizens of Baltimore through a wellness-based approach with the help of UMB students, staff, faculty, other campus affiliates and community partners such as the Legal Aid of Baltimore. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60% of HIV-positive youth do not know that they are infected. City Uprising will target those youth (and adults) in Baltimore by providing free HIV testing, while also offering linkage to care services, community and legal resources, blood pressure and dental health screenings, and nutrition education and counseling.