Washington, DC – The DC Department of Health (DOH) and the Places of Worship Advisory Board invite DC clergy and faith leaders to attend the third annual “One in the Spirit” Conference on Saturday, November 5, 2011. The free conference will help educate and inspire the faith community to join the fight against HIV and will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm; registration will begin at 8 am. To attend, visit www.doh.dc.gov/powab.
“The faith community has always been a spiritual champion in the fight against HIV in the District of Columbia,” said DOH Director, Dr. Mohammad Akhter. “The One in the Spirit Conference brings together pastoral, lay leaders and other community members to bring back information and inspiration on HIV testing, prevention and linkage to care and treatment.”
The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Together All Faiths to Encourage Healthy Messages about HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia.” The co-sponsors include prominent faith-based organizations: The Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of DC and Vicinity, The Balm in Gilead, Damien Ministries, Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, Gospel Rescue Ministry, New Samaritan Baptist Church Positive Impact, and Start at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Workshops will be offered on HIV and Women, Men, Youth, Senior citizens over 55 years old, and stigma. Award-winning gospel music artist Dr. Marvin Sapp and the Ten Commandment Band will provide entertainment. Free HIV testing will be available and an exhibit area will be provided for community organizations and HIV service providers.
This year there will be a Youth Empowerment session featuring keynote speaker, physician, and founder of a youth motivational program, Dr. Jeri Dyson. There will also be workshops on peer education, abstinence and an innovative program of college athletes working with youth led by BET Award winner, Deidra Sanders.
The HIV epidemic in DC impacts all population groups across race/ethnicity, age and gender. To help combat this disease, the District has made routine HIV testing for adults and adolescents the priority to help diagnosis and connect people into care and treatment. In addition, the Department has launched a major effort to broaden the city’s response to HIV, by building capacity among faith, youth and small neighborhood-based organizations.
DOH convened the Places of Worship Advisory Board of District faith leaders to support the DC faith based community in learning more about HIV, developing HIV ministries and encouraging new programs and services by the faith community. The Board members developed the “One in the Spirit” conference for the first time in November 2009, by more than 200 people from the DC faith community in attendance. Last year’s conference grew to more than 300 attendees.
For more information about the “One in the Spirit” Conference, visit www.doh.dc.gov/powab.