Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Day


February 7, 2012, marks the 12th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative designed to increase the awareness of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.

The day focuses on four elements: education, testing, involvement, and treatment. NBHAAD stresses the importance of educating communities about the basics of HIV/AIDS and urges African Americans to get tested on this day and learn their HIV status. According to the NBHAAD website, grassroots efforts across the country work to raise awareness among African Americans “from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas.” And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount.

NBHAAD was founded by five national organizations funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 to provide capacity building assistance to Black communities and organizations. The initiative began in 2000 with five key organizations: Concerned Black Men, Inc. of Philadelphia; Health Watch Information and Promotion Services, Inc.; Jackson State University – Mississippi Urban Research Center; National Black Alcoholism and Addictions Council; and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, Blacks have greater incidence: (Blacks represented only 12-percent of the U.S. population, yet accounted for 45-percent of new HIV infections and 46-percent of people living with HIV disease in 2006); and more deaths (Blacks accounted for 57-percent of deaths due to HIV in 2007 and the survival time after an AIDS diagnosis was lower on average than it is for most other racial/ethnic groups). In 2009, Blacks accounted for 44-percent of all new HIV infections. February 7 is an important day to raise awareness about the disproportionate rate at which HIV/AIDS affects African Americans. Get more information about NBHAAD and learn how you can get involved on the NBHAAD website.

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