By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 7, 2019
QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Brenda Chambers Dye was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s.
"I was like, 'Lord, why me?' He said, 'why not you? You're a big mouth,'" she said.
She says she's now using her big mouth to educate people. Thursday, she stood with community leaders in Gadsden County to help promote the awareness day.
"I advise anybody to get tested and know your status. Don't wait too late. Back in the days in the early '80s, there was AZT. Now, you got so many medications where you can continue to live," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control says in 2017, African Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population, but 43 percent of the new 38,739 HIV diagnoses.
Sylvia Hubbard, the executive director of MACAA, Inc., says business and church leaders have to be a part of the solution.
"This is where people go a lot. The church is where they go to find healing. What better place to talk about HIV/AIDS because of the stigma that's associated with it? We need a healing process so that we can move forward," Hubbard said.
Ronterrious Green, the owner of the Greenery Florist in Quincy, said, "We're only better if we're together to deal with issues such as this that is having a heavy hit on small towns and communities all over the world."
The CDC says one in seven African Americans don't know they have HIV.
Hubbard spent the day Thursday in the community providing free HIV testing.