A group of all-women community leaders, politicians and health care professionals in Macon, Georgia, announced February 7 that they had formed a new organization aiming to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, particularly among black women in the area.

According to The Macon Telegraph (macon.com, 2/8), the Association of Informed and Dedicated Sisters will focus on black women, a group that is affected by HIV at a rate more than 20 times that of white women. The group will work to empower women to assert themselves in relationships, insist on condom use and get tested.

“This is an issue that we can’t just sit back on the sideline and not take some active stance on,” said former Macon City Council President Anita Ponder, chairwoman of the association.