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Friday, February 03, 2017

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day– Feb. 7th

Written by  Bill Redmond-Palmer

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every year on February 7th, provides an opportunity to focus on, and remind the general public of the racial disparities in HIV infection that persist in the U.S., with African-Americans continuing to shoulder the heaviest burden.

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Project Power of Chase Brexton Health Care is hosting a health fair in the center court of Mondawmin Mall (2401 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore), February 7th, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event is supported by over 15 groups, including AIDS Action Baltimore, Star Track, and OWEL (Older Women Embracing Life). There will be lots of free swag. Rapid HIV testing will be conducted by Project Power and Star Track.

For info, call 410-837-2050 x8813 or visit Facebook.com/CBHCpower.

The Thebody.com outlines several important things to know about the impact of the HIV epidemic on black Americans:

• Blacks account for nearly half of all new HIV infections each year, despite being only 13% of the U.S. population.

• Blacks are at higher risk of HIV exposure, not because they engage in more risk-associated behaviors, but because the prevalence of HIV is so much greater in black communities compared to other racial / ethnic groups.

• Around 14% of blacks living with HIV do not know they are infected.

• A late diagnosis of HIV infection is common, which results in missed opportunities to get early medical care and prevent transmission to others.

• One in two black gay men nationally will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, and black gay men continue to be at highest risk for HIV among black Americans and all other groups nationwide.

• While the overall HIV infection rate among blacks is around 2%, among black gay men the rate is 30% percent, and one in two black gay men are expected to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

• Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that new HIV diagnoses are increasing among black men who have sex with men, despite overall decreases in the general population.

• HIV rates among black women in the U.S. have declined 42% from 2005 to 2014, however new HIV diagnoses among black women are still high compared to women of other races/ethnicities; black women accounted for six in ten diagnoses among all women in 2014. The CDC estimates that one in 48 black women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

• Black transgender women are more likely to have HIV than transgender women of other races/ethnicities.

• A 2009 National Institutes of Health study showed that more than 56 percent of black trans women in the U.S. were HIV-positive.

• Blacks are still more likely to die from HIV/AIDS compared to other groups. According to the CDC, Blacks account for almost half of all those with AIDS who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the epidemic.

• While the AIDS death rate among blacks declined 28% from 2008 to 2012, it was 13% higher than whites and 47% higher than Latinos. These racial disparities persist despite the fact that AIDS mortality rates have declined sharply overall since the advent of more successful therapies.

• In general, blacks are less likely than whites to have private health insurance.

• Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to the disproportionate burden of HIV among black communities. This is most notably the case in regions with large black populations like the American South where approximately half of the nation’s new HIV infections occur, with blacks accounting for nearly 80% of them.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was first observed in 1999. The 2017 theme is “I Am My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper. Fight HIV/AIDS!”

For more information about National Black HIV / AIDS Awareness Day, visit Nationalblackaidsday.org or Aids.gov/news-and-events/awareness-days/black.

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