‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’

 Amy Nunn

‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’

In Mississippi, black people represent 37 percent of the population but account for 77 percent of new HIV infections. Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine, has been working with local leaders in Jackson, Miss., to launch a widespread testing and treatment campaign without stigma. To mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7, Nunn will host “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue” featuring prominent activist The Rev. Al Sharpton. This event takes place at Tougaloo College, a historically black institution with which Brown University entered into partnership 50 years ago this year. Sharpton will offer the keynote address at a town hall meeting, along with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumbamba, Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan, and a coalition of African American clergy called Mississippi Faith in Action (livestream available). Nunn founded MFIA in 2012 to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS in the Deep South. MFIA launched the citywide testing and treatment campaign on World AIDS Day 2013. Nunn’s efforts, including a similar campaign in Philadelphia called Do One Thing, are based on her research on engaging the stigma-reducing influence of faith leaders to complement more traditional HIV prevention approaches that have tended to emphasize risk behaviors. Nunn’s research is supported by the Brown/Tufts/Lifespan Center for AIDS Research and the MAC AIDS Fund.