National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is observing its 15th annual reminder on February 7th to highlight that HIV remains a substantial public health problem.
Despite progress, black/African American communities continue to experience significant issues. While 12% of the US population are black/African Americans, they account for 44% of new HIV infections each year.
“Among black/African Americans, gay and bisexual men, especially young men, are the most affected population—accounting for the majority of new infections,” states a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Data from the most current Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from CDC reveals some encouraging signs of progress:
“From 2008 to 2012, the death rate per 1,000 black/African Americans living with HIV declined 28%—more than the overall decline of 22% seen among all people living with HIV.”
“A national survey indicates that the percentage of black/African Americans who had ever been tested for HIV increased from 57% during 2003–2006 to 64% during 2007–2010, and was highest among black/African Americans during both time periods compared to other racial/ethnic groups. This may partially be due to the fact that in 2013, 45% of the 3.3 million CDC-funded HIV tests were provided to black/African Americans.”
A key focus in the CDC national efforts includes people most prone (black/African American gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and women, youth, and transgender persons) realize more about their illness and connecting them to available care services. Some of the programs used to do this include:
Partnerships for Care provides health departments and health centers with streamlined methods and tools to diagnose, monitor, process through care and treatment, and improve HIV outcomes.
“CDC also funds health departments and community-based organizations to provide HIV prevention services, including HIV testing, condom distribution, and linkage to care,” CDC stated.
Act Against AIDS are communication campaigns that increase promotes learning, testing and treatment.
Take Charge. Take the Test encourages black/African American women to get tested for HIV.
Testing Makes Us Stronger focuses on HIV testing among black/African American gay and bisexual men.
HIV Treatment Works is a new campaign for users that stresses the importance of HIV medical care.
“Today we encourage you to raise awareness about these concerns and act to help change the course of HIV among the black/African American community,” said Johnathan Mermin, MD, MPH and Director for the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “As always, we thank you for your support in these efforts and we look forward to our continued collaborations.”