This week, 26 Rochester, New York–based black churches pledged their support against AIDS in the African-American community during National Prayer Week for the Healing of AIDS, 13 WHAM News reports. African Americans make up 51 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States, while black women represent 61 percent of new cases among women.

On Tuesday, March 9, to promote awareness and prevention, First Church Divine held an AIDS prayer service and free rapid testing. Pastor Lloyd T. Oldham of First Church Divine in Rochester said he witnessed the need for events like this among his congregation and in the surrounding community.

“It's reality. It's happening. Why run from it?” he asked.