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Alicia Keys teams up with Greater Than AIDS to raise HIV awareness among black, Hispanic communities


NEW YORK — While a multitude of drugs have come on the market for treating HIV, the disease continues to disproportionately affect African-Americans and Hispanics, prompting a recent seminar in New York that included pop singer Alicia Keys, New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel and others.

A group of more than 400 members of the Harlem community and leaders convened at the Harlem Hospital, along with representatives of Greater than AIDS and church leaders to tackle the issue of HIV and AIDS among people of color. According to Greater Than AIDS, the large majority of people with HIV in Harlem are black or Hispanic, and the rate of HIV diagnosis per 100,000 people was four to five times higher in Harlem than the country overall.

"There are serious misconceptions out there that keep HIV/AIDS in the shadows," Keys said. "Each and every one of us has to come together to change that. There is no reason that black and Hispanic people should continue to be affected like this. By talking about HIV/AIDS honestly and openly, we can overcome stigma and fear and start a real dialog that allows us to know, learn and share the truth."

Greater Than AIDS has hired Keys as a spokeswoman for Empowered, its new campaign to reach women about HIV/AIDS. In addition, Rangel introduced last month the Communities United with Religious Leaders for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS Act, currently under consideration by the House Subcommittee on Health.

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