The annual Essence Music Festival attracts large crowds each year and this year's lineup with Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men, Jill Scott, Kanye West and Mary J. Blige and Usher will continue the tradition. Aside from the great music, the three day festival, which runs July 1-3, also features an empowerment series with speakers like Iyanla VanZant and numerous sponsors and vendors promoting wellness. This year Planned Parenthood is teaming up with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Black AIDS Institute to offer free HIV testing to the crowds.
The CDC encourages all Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested on a routine basis. African Americans are at a higher risk, making up 13 percent of the U.S. population but accounting for more than half of newly diagnosed HIV infections.
"We are excited to partner with the Louisiana Health Department and the Black AIDS Institute to help serve the African-American community," said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Testing is for everyone. Knowing your status can help you and your partners stay healthy, whether you're positive or negative."