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June 9, 2009

Faith-Based HIV Prevention Group Defends Controversial Billboard

St. John Faith Church in New Orleans put up a controversial billboard on Interstate 10 in an effort to address the rising number of HIV infections in the region, reports WDSU New Orleans.

According to the report, the advertisement features so-called HIV prevention mobsters with names that include “Da Gonorrhea Breaker,” “Da Crabs Assassin” and “Chlamydia Crusher.”

The faith-based prevention group hopes that by using gangster imagery, the community will understand that HIV/AIDS is a potential killer. However, some locals say they are offended by the advertisement.

“We have learned over the years that the mere fact that we are doing HIV prevention can be offensive,” said church representative Tamachia Davenport. “For those that don’t like it, we take the time out to educate them about HIV and why we are in this fight.”

Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals reported that that state ranks fifth in the nation for AIDS case rates, with African Americans accounting for more than 70 percent of the new HIV cases last year.

St. John Faith Church has put up other HIV awareness billboards across the city. The group reported that such advertising efforts have increased the number of calls it has received for HIV testing.

Search: St. John Faith Church, New Orleans, faith-based, prevention

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