Goose Creek mayor declares day for HIV/AIDS awareness

Mayor Michael Heitzler w/representatives of the NAACP and Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church (provided)

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- The mayor of Goose Creek has set aside a day in February to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the black community.

Mayor Michael Heitzler signed a proclamation declaring February 7 "National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day" in the City of Goose Creek.{}

Mayor Heitzler met with representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Goose Creek Branch and Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church HIV/AIDS Ministry to sign the proclamation,

Officials hope to draw attention to the importance of education, getting tested, getting involved and getting treatment for those affected by HIV/AIDS.{}

According to a release by the city, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States and 73 percent of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina are African-American.{}

The release also says African-Americans have a HIV/AIDS case rate six times greater than whites in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties.

The Goose Creek NAACP Branch, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church HIV/AIDS Ministry, Lowcountry AIDS Services and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) are hosting community events including free testing to recognize this day and its importance to African Americans and all concerned citizens.