Florida health officials hope that a state-sponsored AIDS conference in Orlando June 20 will empower the black women attendees to return home and lead their communities to get tested for HIV, the St. Petersburg Times reports (tampabay.com, 6/15). According to the Times, black women in Florida are 17 times more likely to have HIV than white Floridian women are.

Organizers say they aim for the “S.O.S.: Sistas Organizing to Survive” event to boost the number of tested black women by 20,000 this year.

“We want to make the point that black women are in crisis and need help,” said Ronald Henderson, the statewide minority AIDS coordinator in the Florida Department of Health. “We want to educate women so they can go back and educate women in their communities.”