The Nashville Metro Health Department is teaming with local black pastors in raising HIV/AIDS awareness and promoting testing among parishioners, the Associated Press/Clarksville Leaf Chronicle reports ( 7/5).

In Nashville, African Americans constitute 27 percent of the total population but 55 percent of its HIV/AIDS cases. According to the article, a coalition of black preachers agreed on National HIV Testing Day—June 27—to make HIV a priority in their churches.

“Sexuality has always been discussed in the black church,” said the Rev. Raymond Bowman of Spruce Street Baptist Church, one of Nashville’s oldest black churches. “It’s just that with what is going on in the world today, it has got to move from the back burner to the front. We are going to continue to talk about abstinence. But if we want our daughters and our sons to be healthy enough to marry the people they love, we are going to have to talk about [HIV] testing, too.”