Warwick To Queens Forum: Education Still Key In Battle Against HIV/AIDS
Five-time Grammy Award winning singer Dionne Warwick recently visited a library in Far Rockaway, Queens to help remind people that HIV/AIDS is still a major health threat. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Back in 1985, Dionne Warwick helped make the song "That's What Friends Are For" a worldwide hit and raised millions for the American Foundation for AIDS Research or AMFAR. The Grammy award-winning singer was among the first wave of celebrities to join the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"I found that education was the key. You have to know what you are fighting before you can fight it," Warwick said.
Nearly 30 years later the legendary performer is still on the frontlines. She recently attended the first ever Queens HIV/AIDS Forum hosted by The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Warwick reminded a packed crowd that the epidemic is hitting the black community hard.
"Nobody pays attention unless your visible and most of the people unfortunately who contracted it within our communities are invisible," Warwick said.
The forum, which was held at a public library in Far Rockaway, cast a spotlight on HIV. The city's Department of Health says each year nearly 1,000 New Yorkers don't find out they are HIV positive until they are already sick with AIDS.
"Queens is also one of the hot spots of this epidemic. New York City for a long time has been the epicenter and it's been shifted south but we still have the largest number of infected people," said AIDS Activist Rev Gale Sampson Lee.
Hip hop legend Roxanne Shante was also on the panel. Raised in Queensbridge Housing Projects, the entertainer says it's time for more celebrities to speak out.
"It's not put out in the forefront. People don't see it face to face - people don't see it or feel the affects of it unless it affects their household - not seeing the damage it does to the community," Shante said.
Dionne Warwick, who has a new album coming out in November, says she will continue her fight against the epidemic until there is significant progress in combating the disease.