As millions of people around the globe observed World AIDS Day on Sunday, Bishop T.D. Jakes (pictured) and his Potter’s House megachurch, provided free HIV testing to throngs of Dallas residents. Jakes wanted to get the much-needed message across that getting tested is “easy, simple and important,” according to The Christian Post.
Not only did one of this country’s most prominent African-American pastors allow testers to swab his mouth as part of the screening process, but members of his ministry staff also took part in the process.
AIDS prevention and awareness is one of the church’s 50 outreach ministries. Jakes wanted to demonstrate to his congregation and the community that no one should fear taking a test that could protect people from a devastating disease that kills Blacks at an alarming rate. “Getting tested is not just about being at risk but also about the education around the shared responsibility for a healthy generation,” The Potter’s House said in a statement.
Dallas County has the highest rate of new HIV infections in the state and one of the highest in the nation.
Jakes, who is not only a minister but a best-selling author, lecturer and now TV host of his brand new BET show, “T.D. Jakes: Mind, Body and Soul,” followed his very public HIV test with a gospel concert and fiery sermon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that African-Americans account for approximately half of those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. It is the leading cause of death for Black women between the ages of 25 and 34. Overall, Black people are seven times more likely to die from AIDS than other at-risk groups.