amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

July to Be First Ever National HIV Awareness Month

NHAMThe National HIV Awareness Month Star Ribbon, by the design team of Kenneth Cole, amfAR’s Chairman of the BoardJuly 2012 is the first annual National HIV Awareness Month.  Launched by a coalition of national AIDS organizations, the initiative aims to reenergize the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States.  It hopes to build public awareness, end stigma and discrimination, and involve more people and groups in a broad-based effort to end the epidemic.    

Many Americans believe that AIDS is all but over in the U.S.  Yet more than a million Americans are living with HIV and 50,000 new infections occur each year, a rate that has remained relatively unchanged for more than a decade despite education and prevention efforts.  Minority groups including men who have sex with men, African Americans, and Latinos are disproportionately affected by the epidemic and have the highest rates of infection.   

“HIV continues to persist in all corners of the United States, yet most citizens are completely unaware of the impact of HIV here at home,” said Dawn Averitt Bridge, founder of the Coalition for National HIV Awareness Month and founder and chair of the board of The Well Project. “We are fighting an almost entirely preventable disease that needlessly devastates families and communities because so many Americans are simply unaware of their HIV status, or are unable to access appropriate treatment and care due to a wide range of societal and structural barriers, including poverty and stigma. We have a responsibility to engage the American public in this fight and turn the tide of the domestic epidemic.”  

July 2012 offers the perfect opportunity for galvanizing renewed action on AIDS.  In July the International AIDS Conference will take place in the United States for the first time in more than 20 years.  July also marks the second anniversary of the release of the United States’ first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy by President Obama.   

There are many ways for individuals to get involved and help bring HIV/AIDS back into the public consciousness.  Tweet, blog or write a Facebook post about National HIV Awareness Month.  Talk to your friends and family about HIV/AIDS, and remind them why it is still an important issue.  Organize an event to raise awareness, or donate to amfAR to support the innovative AIDS research that offers the best hope of bringing an end to the epidemic.   

For more information, visit www.nationalhivawarenessmonth.org.