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Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, along with Detroit based-Gospel Against AIDS (GAA) and Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, have teamed to offer free HIV testing and counseling.    The HIV testing event will be held Wednesday, June 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Walgreens, located at 6331 East Jefferson Ave., at Mt. Elliot in Detroit. 

Under the banner theme “K.Y.S.”(Know Your Status), the three entities are proactively encouraging people in the community to know their HIV status.  GAA’s certified HIV testers and counselors will be present, to provide “confidential” results within minutes.  If anyone tests positive for HIV, counselors will provide needed sources to where follow-up services and care are offered.  Participating church ministers and other ministries are also on site for anyone requesting prayer and spiritual guidance for any reason.     

“We at Third New Hope are looking forward to supporting and partnering with Gospel Against AIDS and   Walgreens,” said Dr. E.L. Branch, senior pastor of Third New Hope.  “We want to make sure that our church continues to be vigilance in its efforts to give the kinds of support necessary to individuals and families impacted by HIV and AIDS in the community.” 

In addition to Third New Hope, Victory Fellowship Church will be supporting HIV testing on June 27 at another Walgreens, located at 22380 Moross Rd., near Mack Ave. on Detroit’s east side.   Testing will be from 10:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.    GAA’s certified HIV testers and counselors will be present, to provide “confidential” results within minutes. 

According to Rosalind Andrews-Worthy, founder, executive director and CEO of Gospel Against AIDS, the Christian faith-based organization began in 1999.  The organization was founded in the faces of naysayers who felt churches, as targeted venues, would never get involved with HIV and AIDS issues on any level.   

Since its inception, GAA has interfaced with more than 200 churches in metro Detroit, of which approximately eight have become HIV testing sites.  Additionally, GAA has reached another 150 churches nationally, and many internationally, to include Africa, Costa Rico and South America. 

“By providing K.Y.S., we will be addressing a longstanding need while lifting the stigma surrounding HIV testing,” said Andrews- Worthy.  “Our goal is to replicate and make locations at Walgreens permanent HIV testing sites.” 

“It’s important that we all take the necessary steps to inform our community about HIV testing, and how to stop HIV and AIDS,” said Branch, who has served as a GAA spokesperson, trainer, and has travelled to Ghana, Africa to preach and teach about prevention.  “It’s important that we continue to talk about HIV and AIDS, make sure the right information is out there, and keep convincing people to get tested to know their status.” 

For more information about K.Y.S. (Know Your Status) and future HIV testing dates and sites, call 313.341.5989, or log on to www.gospelaa.org.   

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