It’s February 7th: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!

Posted on February 7, 2010

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What is it?

February 7th of every year, is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. All across the United States, Blacks have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began in 1981, and are overrepresented as a racial/ethnic group for HIV/AIDS. Although Blacks make up around 13% of the US population, they also account for almost half (49%) of HIV cases. Blacks account for more new HIV infections every year, AIDS cases, people living with HIV, and also HIV related deaths.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black America is undoubtedly a continuing health crisis in the United States and calls for greater efforts to stem the tide of HIV. February 7th is dedicated to raise awareness about the facts of HIV/AIDS, encourage at-risk groups to get tested, and connect those who test positive for HIV to affordable and quality-assured care and treatment services.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was founded ten years ago and is focused on four initiatives:

  • Get Educated: One of the cornerstones of this initiative is working with Black communities where they are, from an HIV/AIDS education perspective. Through education, we can exchange information and teach others about the risk factors for contracting HIV/AIDS, and how the virus is  contracted. By having a more comprehensive understanding of HIV/AIDS, we can all help prevent the disease from spreading, and work towards ending the stigma associated with HIV.
  • Get Tested: Hopefully, lack communities will use February 7 as their annual day to get tested, and for those who are at most risk, to use it as a bi-annual day and also get tested on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day in the United States. It is important to know your HIV status early – here are the facts: According to the CDC, 25% of HIV+ individuals who are unaware of their status cause more than 67.5% of all new infections; and 75% of HIV+ individuals remaining who are aware of their status cause less than 1/3 (32.5%) of new infections.  So, do you want to know your status now?
  • Get Involved: We need youth, young adults, seniors, professionals, faith leaders, actresses, actors, authors, and the entire Black community concerned with this crisis to get involved. We need you to become engaged. Start with those who are in your immediate circle and educate them about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Black America and then take inventory of the skills, talents, and resources you have and then make a conscious effort to use them for this initiative. There are many nonprofit organizations that need volunteers to assist them from a governing and managing perspective, to answering the phone, to handing out flyers/condoms/lubricants, etc. Educate yourself about HIV and then sharing that message with others in Black communities is a way to get involved. Simply, let others know that today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!

  • Get Treated: We hope that if you are living with HIV and your CD4 (i.e. t-cell) count is low or decreasing at a fast pace as well as your viral load is exploding and increasing, that you consider seeking treatment and care in your area. It is important to get treated as early as possible – your health care provider can help you find ways to live with HIV.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day @ BPHC

On Monday, February 8th, 2010, we will be airing a short Center for Disease Control (CDC) podcast by Dr. Kevin Fenton, a short video by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as screening a Frontline episode called “AIDS in Black America.

Event will take place in the Hayes Conference Room at 1010 Massachusetts Ave, 2nd F, Boston, MA from 11am-1pm

Discussion and question & answer session to follow. All and everyone are invited. Join us!! for more details contact Michael Soo Hoo at 617 534 2302 or email msoohoo@bphc.org

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