Today is Black AIDS Awareness Day and the fact that most of us don’t know about it is a sad statement on the HIV/AIDS crisis that continues in America. There are currently over 1 million people currently in America living with HIV; HIV/AIDS affect so many in America, and is particularly a concern in the South and poor urban neighborhoods’. The numbers are staggering but the current infection rates are highest among African-American men and women. According to the website www.avert.org , the lifetime risk of being infected is 1 in 16 for black men and 1 in 30 for black women compared to 1 in 104 for white men and 1 in 588 for white women. Avert.org is an international HIV and AIDS charity that began in 1986 and is based in the UK, working to avert HIV and AIDS worldwide, through education, treatment and care.
February 7th, 2011 marks the 11th year of the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness campaign here in America; this is a community testing and treatment initiative that targets black communities. More than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States, blacks account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease challenges, and HIV/ Aids related disease deaths. Even though blacks make up 13% of the US population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV /AIDS. Unfortunately the Black population has more deaths due to HIV/AIDS than any other racial/ethnic group. People of all genders and ethnicity need to get tested, get educated, get involved, and get treated. As we all work to involve ourselves in the challenges ahead for people affected by HIV/AIDS, our best weapon is still knowledge of the disease and knowledge of treatment options available. For information on local activities surrounding the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness campaign throughout the year, visit http://www.blackaidsday.org/.
Whatever your ethnicity, go and get tested on February 7th; arm yourself with knowing the early signs of HIV and knowledge of HIV prevention and remove yourself from risky behaviors that could result in a positive test. Volunteer your time helping at one of the many local HIV/AIDS community action groups and show compassion to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Become a part of the solution and not just a statistic. Let us work together to reverse these staggering numbers in the black community and in our country at large; we can’t go another year without Universal Access for HIV/AIDS affected people.