NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Hip-hop, retirees, and HIV. The three actually have something in common.
Health Horizons Prevention Coordinator Gary Roberts sat around a table of retired women Thursday in Nacogdoches.
Earlier, the HIV-AIDS educator met with prostitutes, people who people in his line of work refer to as sex workers. If anyone can connect the polar-opposite groups, it's Roberts.
"Really bringing people together. To mobilize our community," Roberts said. "That's what community mobilization is all about."
This day Roberts is asking for help in filling backpacks with personal items for the ladies he is helping.
"That's what we can do," Roberts said. "We can do. I can't do it by myself."
Robert's calls on communities in a 12-county region to help him prevent the spread of HIV and STD's. He starts with education.
"Every nine and a half minutes in the U.S. somebody is newly infected with HIV," Roberts said.
Robert's target group on Saturday will be primarily young people attending a hip-hop benefit concert in Lufkin sponsored by the Bean Foundation.
"Lil Chad, Black da Beast, Yung Nation out of Dallas, and White Boy Boogie," Roberts said. Reporter."
When asked if they are groups he listens to, Roberts chuckled and replied, 'Oh well. I'm a Gospel man myself."
However, Roberts would join the rappers if it means getting people screened for HIV.
"You can't buy a ticket. The only way you can get a ticket is to be tested or screened for HIV or other STD," Roberts said. "We want everybody to know their status, and once you know your status, you can make your appropriate decision when it comes to your sexual behavior."
And no judgment will be passed.
"But you want to help in a way it's gonna be received well," said Lynn Adams, a volunteer. "They just want to know that somebody cares."
"That's it," Roberts agreed.
Retirees, young people, and sex workers. In one meeting, Roberts connected all three to find a caring way to combat the spread of HIV.
The East Texas HipHop 4 HIV and Health Benefit Concert is Saturday at the Lufkin Pitser Garrison Convention Center. HIV screening begins at 2 p.m. Tickets will be handed out to each participant. Doors open at 3 p.m.
For more information on the Bean Foundation, you can look them up on Twitter and Instagram. You can also click this link to visit the Bean Foundation Facebook page.