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Spreading Awareness on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

by Tony Hobday
Wednesday Feb 6, 2013

The nation is mobilizing for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a February 7 national initiative to respond to the crisis of HIV/AIDS impacting our African-American and African-immigrant communities. The event began in 2001 as a grassroots effort by hundreds of organizations seeking to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in their communities of color. This year’s theme is, "I Am My Brother/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS!"

"Despite making up just 13 percent of the population, African Americans bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., accounting for nearly half of the estimated 1.2 million people living with the disease, nearly half of new HIV cases, and half of annual AIDS-related deaths," said President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, Phill Wilson.

Wilson and his team at the Black AIDS Institute will host events in Mississippi and Georgia, including a press conference and reception in Atlanta at 7 p.m. at the Loudermilk Event Center, 40 Courtland St. They will use the events to release "The Light at the End of the Tunnel," the latest report on the state of AIDS in Black America.

Nationwide, 38 percent of blacks between the ages of 13-24 were infected with HIV in 2010; and, male-to-male sexual contact made up 75 percent of transmission among black communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report. In the first decade of the 21st century, cases in the state of HIV nearly tripled in young black men who have sex with men. In 2011, half of black males diagnosed with HIV were younger than 24 years of age.

While these numbers fluctuate year-to-year and state to state, complacency and misunderstanding about HIV, especially among the youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds, are barriers to awareness and education implementations across the U.S.

In an effort to raise awareness about these high rates of infection, NBHAAD is more than just a day of free, rapid HIV testing. Many cities are including community forums, candlelight vigils, art shows, theater events, film screenings, giveaways and contests.

In Los Angeles, the annual National Black HIV/STD Theatre Initiative, presented by Twinbiz, enlists playwrights and theater artists in the fight against HIV in cities across the nation. It encourages producers and others to write, read or produce at least one play a year in "Black churches, theatres, youth and senior centers, colleges, universities, prisons and living rooms across America until this preventable disease, where Blacks account for almost half the nation’s new infection rates, is eradicated."


  • Caleb Burgess, 2013-02-07 18:15:20

    Why dose it have to be black HIV an AIDs awareness? Why so much notice on a race? Its not like its just one type of person to get the virus... shouldnt it just be HIV/AIDs awareness day? There really needs stop bein so much label an moveing towards one side... forget gay or straight an forget black an white... its people an people

  • BOB KELLERMAN, 2013-02-07 19:35:22

    @Baxcel -- you perfectly illustrate the need for "Black AIDS Awareness". After reading the article, you still want to pretend that the HIV situation is not different in the Black community. This is not blame or criticism, it is FACING THE TRUTH, so things can be made better. I understand that facing truth, post-slavery, is still hard, but it is causing deaths to keep pretending.

  • Anonymous, 2013-02-11 13:36:53

    There are several HIV/AIDS Awareness days throughout the year, each promoting testing and awareness within specific communities hit especially hard by the epidemic. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - Feb 7 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10 National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 20 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day - May 18 National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - May 19 Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - June 8 National HIV Testing Day - June 27 National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day - September 18 National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - September 27 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day - October 15 World AIDS Day - December 1

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