Fighting HIV requires all the earthly and heavenly help we can muster. That’s the spirit behind the free Interfaith Community Prayer Rally and Health Fair on Sunday, August 27th, from 3 to 6 pm at the Swann Drive entrance to Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. A group rally including prayers from different faiths will start off the event. At 3:30 pm, the group will walk to Beth Am Synagogue (2501 Eutaw Place) for a health fair with info, entertainment, free HIV testing, networking, and refreshments.

The event marks the first-ever National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The goal is to rally Baltimore faith communities, along with all others in the US, to engage faith communities to work together for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, treatment, care and support and to end stigma and discrimination. As one organizer said, “We’re not called to do everything … but we are called to do something!”

In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Maryland fifth among states in HIV diagnosis rates and third n AIDS diagnosis rates. Overall, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area had the tenth highest HIV diagnosis rate.

Many faith-based groups have been and are at the forefront of the response to HIV/AIDS, by providing HIV/AIDS services, especially in hard-to-reach areas, and especially when government and community-based organizations were slow to act in the early days of the epidemic.

Some actions faith leaders can take within their communities include hosting trainings, health fairs, and conferences; incorporating HIV education into other community activities.

You can help sponsor the Baltimore event with a tax-deductible donation to give.hopesprings.org.

For more info about the Baltimore event, visit Bit.ly/2uSVWF2 or contact HopeSprings at 410-323-0005.. For more info about the national event overall, it’s Faithaidsday.com.