Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Mobilizes Communities
February 4, 2011— Calling on African Americans to join community efforts to fight the spread of HIV, the organizers of the 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day are planning a wide range of events on February 7. The theme of this year’s awareness campaign, “It Takes a Village to Fight HIV/AIDS,” echoes this call for collective action by African Americans to expand prevention, testing, and treatment within their communities.
HIV/AIDS has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans, who make up approximately 14 percent of the population but account for nearly half (46 percent) of all people living with HIV in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A range of complex factors account for their increased risk of infection, including overall higher HIV prevalence within African-American communities, which raises individuals’ risk of being exposed to infection; higher prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases, which also increases HIV risk; stigma; and poverty.
Among African Americans, men who have sex with men (MSM) are most affected, followed by heterosexual women. Young black MSM are particularly affected, with more new HIV infections (52 percent) occurring in black MSM between the ages of 13 and 29 than in any other racial or ethnic age group of MSM. The rate of new infections for black women is nearly 15 times higher than that of white women, and nearly four times as high as the rate among Latinas.
“This is a critical time for rethinking prevention within African American communities, and all communities at elevated risk for HIV/AIDS,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy.
For more information and event listings, visit www.blackaidsday.org.