The Southeast AIDS Education and Training Center (SEAETC) has just announced their newest steering committee member, a nominee that sits right in the heart of Owensboro. Jacob Kiper, a Mental Health Counselor with the local Matthew 25 AIDS Services, has accepted that position and will represent just one of two seats for the state of Kentucky, serving a three-year term.
SEAETC serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee in the educational needs of HIV/AIDS to both patients and all healthcare providers in their region.
“I think it is important for Owensboro to have a representative,” Kiper said. “I am thankful for this opportunity in being one of two to represent Kentucky. This is an opportunity for Owensboro to have a say, especially for the size we are in comparison to Lexington and Louisville.”
Kiper explained that education in the field of HIV and AIDS education is ever-changing. Books from 20 years ago, or even five years ago may now have outdated information. It is important for Kiper and the committee to stay abreast of updated research available in the field. Kiper also hopes to bring a unique component to the discussions coming as a licensed professional clinical counselor and only one of three mental health professionals involved in this particular expertise in the state of Kentucky.
“I hope to bring a fresh and unique perspective to this organization. Matthew 25 has given me the platform to have opportunities to serve at a larger level such as this,” Kipper said, hoping to represent Owensboro well.
Kiper, who sees approximately 300 persons living with HIV throughout the year, also hosts support groups, counsels persons with depression and anxiety and strives to educate the public on services their nonprofit has available such as free confidential testing. His passion is one that has driven his past five years in this nonprofit field.
“I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to serve an underserved population,” Kiper said. “I looked up what Matthew 25 says in the Bible and the part where it says ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ really resonated with me. I am thankful to have a part in taking care of those most in need in the community.”