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Jackson Encourages Public Figures To Promote HIV Test

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(KWMU photo)
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St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (left) and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with swabs in their mouths, get tested for HIV.

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – The Reverend Jesse Jackson, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, and a group of clergy all got tested for HIV and AIDS this morning at the city's medium security jail.

The aim was to show inmates how easy testing is and to raise awareness of the epidemic behind bars.

The City's Health Commissioner, Melba Moore, says testing inmates is crucial because most of them spend just a few months locked up and then return to society.

"So if you test and you do go back into the community, you know what your status is; you're in a treatment of care so it's not going to be spread," Moore said.

The Reverend Jackson calls jails an epicenter for HIV and AIDS because unprotected sex and drug use are so common.

Testing for inmates, like the general public is not required, which means many people spread the disease without knowing it.

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