The Orangeburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is working to spread HIV/AIDS awareness and education within the community as part of its recognition of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Chapter First Vice President Tessie Haywood said a two-day event is planned in partnership with Family Health Centers Inc., Victory Tabernacle Church’s “A Family Affair” support group and North Orangeburg United Methodist Church.

The first event will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the Serenity Garden, which was created for those whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS.

‘Treat Me Right’: T&D Region residents urged to get STD screenings

Built on a four-acre tract behind Victory Tabernacle at 681 Broughton St. in Orangeburg, the garden was dedicated on May 10, 2007, as the first living AIDS memorial garden and included flowers and a stand with the names of people who have lost of their lives to HIV/AIDS.

“We’ll do a candlelight vigil and a short program honoring those persons who are living and those who have passed and also honor Shirley James. Then we’ll release some balloons,” Haywood said.

James is a registered nurse who served as the longtime president of the now-defunct Minority AIDS Council. She helped to provide HIV/AIDS resources, awareness and education within her local community.

People are also reading…

“Shirley has done so much with that population and just also to bring awareness in the community about HIV and getting tested,” Haywood said.

HopeHealth in Orangeburg expanding for primary care services

A virtual webinar will then be held via Zoom at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, featuring Dafina M. Ward, JD, executive director of the Alabama-based Southern AIDS Coalition, as speaker. Following the webinar, the FHC will conduct confidential rapid HIV testing at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at North Orangeburg United Methodist Church at 950 Cook Road in Orangeburg.

Haywood said individuals will be able to register for the webinar on the alumnae chapter’s website at under events, or via Facebook: The Orangeburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

The theme for World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice,” with the day not only addressing health inequities but ensuring the voices of people with HIV are heard.

“We’re going to encourage people to get tested and know their status, especially women. We know that a lot of money goes toward MSMs, and that’s men who have sex with men; however, women are testing positive for HIV as well,” Haywood said.

“So we want to be able to bring it to the forefront and let women know what the stats are in the state of South Carolina for women who have tested positive and living with HIV now. So Dafina Ward from the Southern AIDS Coalition will be able to talk to us about the stats, as well as what is ending the HIV epidemic, why it matters and how people from the community can support that initiative that has been implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” she said.

“We just want to educate people on the importance of prevention and also getting tested,” Haywood said.

Chapter President Pinky Carter also serves as director of the Brooks Health Center on the campus of South Carolina State University. She said the World AIDS Day events are just as important as they were years ago.

“COVID has been in the forefront, and HIV is now more of a chronic illness, but because of COVID and people being more confined and not moving around, there’s still a risk. We still need to make sure we maintain the focus on not the individual but the behavior of all individuals,” Carter said.

She continued, “HIV is not germane to any particular category of persons. It’s across the board for all persons. Since the ‘80s, HIV has now become a chronic illness, but people are still being exposed and still developing HIV.”

According to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Surveillance Report, through December 2019, the Low Country Public Health Region reported a total of 3,852 HIV/AIDS cases, with a rate of 767 cases per 100,000 people.

SCDHEC’s Low Country Public Health Region includes Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties, along with the counties of Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper.

Orangeburg County’s rate is 517 cases per 100,000 people; Bamberg has a rate of 97 cases per 100,000; and Calhoun County has roughly 36 cases per 100,000 people. $5 for 5 months

Carter said it was also important to honor work by James, a person with whom she worked for many years.

“I was with Shirley James from the mid-80s, when we were awarded an HIV educational grant for all HBCUs. So I’ve been in the trenches along with her from the very beginning. To see where we have gone from a little bit of information to a wealth of information, it’s not at the forefront anymore, but it’s still relevant,” she said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

#pu-email-form-daily-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article, #pu-email-form-daily-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article h1 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>