|Updated: 12/02/2011 7:55 am
||Published: 12/01/2011 10:24 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Thursday night, the Arkansas Minority Health Commission hosted a gospel concert at St. Mark Baptist Church. State health leaders are now hoping to visit more churches to encourage AIDS awareness.
"They have an important role to play in helping minorities live healthier lives," said Minority Health Executive Director Idonia Trotter.
Kevin Holmes knows the grief AIDS can cause. He has lost friends and family to the sickness.
"Two of those were cousins. Two of those were really good friends that I knew from junior high school. All of them died under the age of 30," said Holmes.
The Arkansas Department of Health says more than 5,000 Arkansans are living with AIDS. In 2010, 275 new cases were reported. Those mainly affected are minorities.
"Of those 275 cases, 46 percent were African Americans. Compared to the fact we only have 16 percent of the population who are African Americans, it is obvious we have some disparities as it relates to the disease," said health officer Paul Halverson.