By Veronica Appleton, MA
It’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!
Get Educated, Get Tested, Get Involved and Get Treated, if needed! The previous call to action, developed by the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) Strategic Leadership Committee (a), contributes to the yearly initiative of increasing the awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment among Black communities domestically in the United States and across the Diaspora.
For 14 years now, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day has committed to building a national HIV testing and treatment initiative accelerated by educating, promoting testing and treatment, and increasing involvement within Black communities. This year’s theme I Am My Brother/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, prompts Black communities to unite and care for one another regardless of lifestyle or HIV status.
“National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day represents an opportunity to remember our lost loved ones, empower our communities, and impact our future,” says Nycal Anthony-Townsend, President of Alliances for Quality Education, Inc., and Chair of the NBHAAD Strategic Leadership Committee. “This year marks the 14th observance of NBHAAD and we see a growth in mobilization among our churches, homes, businesses, and government agencies, but we must not stop there.We will continue to lead the charge from the back, while our spokespersons, community change agents and policy leaders work to create a brighter future without HIV/AIDS”
Currently, there are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., including more than 500,000 who are Black. To take a closer look at current statistics, see below:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 16,741 Black people were diagnosed with AIDS in the U.S., a number that has slowly decreased since 2006.
- From 2005-2008, the rate of HIV diagnoses among Black people increased from 68 per 100,000 persons to 74 per 100,000. This increase reflects the largest increase in rates of HIV diagnoses by race or ethnicity.
- In 2007, HIV was the ninth leading cause of death for all Black people and the third leading cause of death for both Black men and Black women aged 35–44.
- When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, Black people have more illness (Black people represent only 12% of the U.S. population, yet account for 44% of new HIV infections and 44% of people living with HIV disease in 2006); and more deaths (Black people accounted for 57% of deaths due to HIV in 2007 and the survival time after an AIDS diagnosis is lower on average than it is for most other racial/ethnic groups).
- In 2009, Black people accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections.
The growing NBHAAD initiative has also received support and advocacy from notable public figures such as President Barack H. Obama (during his time as Illinois Senator), Congressman Elijah E. Cummings; Tony Dungy; Idris Elba; Kimberly Elise; Lance Gross; Hill Harper; Taraji P. Henson; Tom Joyner; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; General Colin Powell; Sheryl Lee Ralph; Gloria Reuben; and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Want to take action? Here are seven ways you can commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
- Use Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress or Instagram with the hashtags #NBHAAD or #TalkHIV to create virtual discussions and conversations.
- Develop a video using Youtube, Instagram or Vine.
- Change your social media profile picture in support of NBHAAD.
- Build relationships with local organizations connected to the Black community to educate and promote HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.
- Host a webinar, virtual chat, press conference or event at a local coffee shop.
- Read the following fact sheets and learn more about new HIV infections in the U.S., the current status of HIV/AIDS in America, facts about HIV/AIDS among Blacks, or a closer look at HIV/AIDS among youths.
- Find an event in your local community!
(a) The Strategic Leadership Committee partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration to mobilize communities and address specific issues in regards to local epidemics and best practices that will influence the course of HIV in Black communities across the country.
Source: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (2014). The 2014 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Toolkit. Retrieved on February 2, 2014.