Part IV: Fighting HIV/AIDS with faith

October 15, 2008 

More than 12 years ago, the Rev. Blakeley Scott started an HIV ministry at his church, First Nazareth Baptist, after church member Sam Hunter, who is HIV-positive, asked him to visit and to pray for his friends in the hospital.

C. ALUKA BERRY/CABERRY@THESTATE.COM — The State

Sam Hunter is black, gay and HIV-positive. He counsels others with HIV and moonlights as Samantha, a female impersonator.

Blakeley Scott is pastor of First Nazareth Baptist in Columbia. Scott and other black ministers openly discuss HIV/AIDS and welcome people with HIV to their churches.

Hunter and Scott share a mission: to harness the power of the pulpit to save lives.

In this final installment of “Witnesses to an Epidemic,” staff writer Czerne M. Reid and photographer C. Aluka Berry explain how the black church has become an active partner in the campaign against South Carolina’s HIV-AIDS epidemic. Also find out how one doctor found a spiritual calling in treating those with HIV.

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