ENGLEWOOD — Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) joined thousands across the country getting tested for National HIV Testing Day Saturday.
Lopez's test was administered by the program director of Bridging the Tys to Jordan, 1811 W. 63rd St., as part of a larger HIV testing initiative in Englewood on June 27.
“There is a lot of stigma still associated with this test, even though it’s harmless and necessary in all of our communities,” said Lopez, who opted for the oral test. “To help get people past their fears, the best way to show support is do it yourself.”
Bridging the Tys to Jordan works with underserved communities offering assistance and support to substance abuse clients, the homeless, and those who have a mental illness.
“Our mission is to help the people in the community,” said Tyson Everett, the organization’s executive program director and an Englewood resident. “We want to be able to help them, or refer them if we can’t.”
Everett said they provide HIV testing year-round, and noted that a higher percentage of African Americans and Hispanics are living with HIV compared to other ethnic groups.
Everett said his organization is trying to reach as many people as they can, but they’re at a disadvantage.
“Whites have been educated, and they are doing testing more regularly,” he said. “Most of the places [on the North Side] have condoms and all the materials they need to prevent HIV and AIDS. “
Lopez said it’s important to help South Side organizations like Everett's get more funding an said that’s something he plans to work on in his new role as alderman.
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