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R&B singer Kelly Rowland has undergone an HIV test in Africa to raise awareness of the disease.

The 27-year-old Destiny’s Child singer took the test while in Nairobi on Thursday to help reduce the stigma of the disease in the country, where people fear discrimination if they are tested.

“Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to HIV infection, and it is important for everyone to know their HIV status,” she said. “The quicker you know your status, the sooner you can receive treatment if you’re HIV+, and reduce the risk of inadvertently infecting future partners.”

Rowland is in Africa as the first ever Ambassador for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, and hopes to help the people of Kenya get the disease under control. HIV/AIDS is at pandemic levels through much of Africa, with UNAIDS – the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS – estimating that more than 22 million adults and children are living with the disease on the continent.

The singer also took the time to visit the 2008 recipients of the Staying Alive Foundation’s grants, who have been chosen for their efforts to encourage, educate and empower their peers in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Each grantee receives a cash grant to enable them to realize a project associated with raising the awareness of the disease. The Kenyan recipients of the 2008 Staying Alive Foundation Awards are: The Kisumu Self Help Disabled Group; REPACTED (Rapid Effective Participatory Action in Community Theatre Education and Development); and The Positive Youth Initiative.

“All the 2008 Staying Alive grantees should be proud of the vital function they fulfill in their communities by helping to raise the awareness about HIV/AIDS,” said Rowland. “By stressing the importance of prevention, raising awareness about the basic issues surrounding HIV and AIDS and reducing stigma associated with infection, they are taking direct action to help stop the spread of the disease.”

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