The Crusader Newspaper Group

Festival and Prayer Walk in Englewood to promote HIV Testing

South Side Help Center (SSHC) is collaborating again this June with Southside HIV/AIDS Resource Providers (SHARP) on its annual Englewood area prayer walk, street health fair and festival to help promote education and awareness relative to National HIV Testing Day which is June 27, 2018.

The prayer walk and festival will take place on Saturday, June 23, 2018 from 9:30AM-3:00PM in the lot on the corner of 63rd Street & Vernon Avenue, with the following schedule of activities:

  • 9:30-10:00 a.m. Prayer walk around block of 63rd & Vernon/King Drive.
  • 10:00-11:00 a.m. Evangelist Precious Holmes, Gospel music singer
  • 11:00 a.m. Prayer and comments by local clergy and civic leaders. Invited guests include Alderman Willie Cochran.
  • 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Live music by Joseph White’s Blues Band, Food, Raffles, Prizes, Free Healthcare Check-ups and Confidential HIV Screenings.

For more than 10 years SSHC has been partnering with SHARP every June to host a prayer walk and festivities on the corner of 63rd and Vernon Street since it is a high traffic area due to local retail shops and the CTA Red Line stop. SHARP co-hosts additional community activities during the previous week in collaboration with local churches and other community based organizations.

“Though our mobile testing units travel throughout the city all year round, outdoor summer festivals provide us the opportunity to reach more people and provide the free HIV tests and information about prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS which is crucially needed to help reduce the stigma and spread of the virus in our communities,” commented Vanessa Smith, Executive Director, South Side Help Center.

“Our outreach coordinator, Harold Cherry, has helped us solidify a long-standing collaboration with SHARP so that we can continue to work with faith-based entities in the Englewood community,” she added.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in seven people in the United States who have HIV don’t know that they are HIV positive. Young people are the most likely to be unaware of their HIV infection. The latest reports of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) indicate that new cases of HIV/AIDS are disproportionately high in African-American communities.

National HIV Testing Day is an annual occasion to encourage people to get an HIV test. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.

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