2010 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

2010 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: February 7th – Get Tested, Get Treated, Get Educated, Get Involved

By: Ariel Jastromb, BLC Volunteer

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a national HIV testing and treatment initiative aimed at black individuals and communities in the United States. Founded in 1999 by five national organizations, it is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On February 7th of every year, National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day strives to arm members of the black community with education about, testing for and the treatment of HIV/AIDS, as well as to engage the black community to get involved. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day also hopes to serve as an annual or bi-annual reminder to get tested, because, as the old adage says, “knowledge is power.”

More than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States, blacks account for more HIV infections, AIDS cases, people estimated to be living with HIV and HIV-related deaths. Blacks comprise 13% of the US population and account for 49% of all cases and for 51% of all new infections. That is why it is so important to reach out into black communities across the nation to discuss issues that they face. Poverty, lack of housing, lack of awareness of HIV/AIDS status and the stigma of carrying the disease has kept many people of color from fighting back against the disease, which leads to more HIV/AIDS infections and fatalities.

Here are some scary facts:  the HIV/AIDS diagnosis in black men are 10 times higher than in white men and the infection rate for females is 22 times greater than it is for white women Also, the number one cause of all new infections is heterosexual sex, not just male-to-male sex anymore.

In Massachusetts alone, while only 6% of the population is black, they represent 28% of all cases. Black youth under age 25 account for 8% of the youth population. Of the entire youth population, 44% of newly infected individuals were black.

Because of this extreme health crisis in populations of color, specifically in the black population, the CDC has renewed or doubled its efforts in order to reach those of color with a focus on testing and involving the black community in awareness efforts. Support yours, your community’s and your country’s health by supporting National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The more we know, the faster we can treat the disease.

Across the country there will be events happening in conjunction with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Learn more about events in your area and more about the issues by visiting http://www.blackaidsday.org/inside_index.html