Morrow said typically there would be seven reported cases in this category in a year. Nine cases have been reported in the first quarter of 2010.
This really has us shocked, Brown said.
The nine individuals were not necessarily connected she said, so there are probably more out there.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV, when your immune system no longer works. It is a sickness that can kill you. There are treatments that can help people with HIV live longer, but there is no cure.
And, one can appear symptom free during the initial stages, so it is important to get tested if you have unprotected sex.
She said the sooner you know you have the virus, the better, as it makes it much easier to treat.
Plan of action
Education is the key to HIV prevention. Brown said leaders from the black churches in the city of Syracuse are planning a clergy summit May 8 and 9 (time and place TBA) to come up with a unified strategy. They are seeking a plan on how to step up the education, and also how to council church members about HIV.
All of us of the faith community will respond, Brown said.
Its 100 percent preventable, Morrow said, (versus) a life sentence of medication and the risk of transmission.
Brown noted that when the HIV epidemic started, it was considered by most in the black community to be a gay white mans disease.
The disease moved to another neighborhood, he said adding that it appears minority men under the age of 25 is that neighborhood.
We are committed here (to this neighborhood). Why? Because we live here, Alex said, Every person has the right to receive information and care.
He quoted from the scriptures: My people perish for lack of knowledge.
He said they were stepping up the fight against HIV because it is about quality of life.
To get tested call FPS at 435-3295 or go to their Web site at syracusehealthinfo.org for more information.
Read an indepth report on this story in next weeks City Eagle April 15.