On National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, there was a prayer service held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to remember one of the greats of the game, Arthur Ashe, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993 at age 49.
Ashe was the first Black tennis player to win singles titles at the U.S. Open, the Australian open and Wimbledon. It is believed he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during surgery in 1983 and, for the next decade, he was an AIDS activist.
“One of the barriers of people not getting tested is the stigma and Arthur Ashe was a champion and he encouraged people to live longer with the virus,” Don Victor Mooney, the prayer vigil organizer, said.
At the vigil, Reverend Herbert Daughtry encouraged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID
[We are] people to do all that the credible scientists are telling people to do with regards to HIV and also with COVID-19,” Daughtry said at the prayer vigil.
While New York State COVID positivity rate continues to inch up, New York City’s rate remains below 3% and is the lowest in the state at 2.53% compared to New York State’s overall positivity rate of 3.29%.