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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – February 7, 2019

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Observed each year on February 7th, NBHAAD serves as an opportunity to highlight the need for increased HIV education, testing, community involvement and treatment in Black/African-American communities.

HIV continues to impact the health and well-being of the Black/African-American men and women across the United States.

According to the CDC, Black/African-Americans continue to shoulder most of the HIV and AIDS burden of any racial/ethnic group in the nation. The good news is that focused prevention efforts among Black/African Americans has led to decreases among Black/African-American women (25 percent decline from 2010 to 2014) and a stabilization of HIV diagnoses among Black/African-American gay and bisexual men between 2010 and 2014. However, there still remains work to be done among young (18-29) Black/African-American men as they account for more new diagnoses than any other racial/ethnic group as well as among Black/African American heterosexual women who continue to be affected by HIV more than other racial/ethnic group.

According to the 2017-2021 Comprehensive HIV Plan for L.A. County, the HIV epidemic among the Black/African-American community has the following attributes:

  • Blacks/African-Americans are one of three racial/ethnic groups most impacted by HIV
  • Among men who have sex with men (MSM) Blacks/African-Americans have the highest estimated HIV prevalence
  • Young (18-29) Black/African American MSM are one of the fastest rising groups contracting HIV
  • New HIV diagnoses both adults/adolescent males and females is highest among Blacks/African Americans
  • Among females living with HIV, the majority are Black/African American

This year’s NBHAAD theme, “Together for Love: Stop HIV Stigma” highlights the messages of the Act Against AIDSLet’s Stop HIV Together campaign.  Let’s Stop HIV Together raises awareness that we all have a role to play in stopping HIV stigma.

HIV risk does not happen in a vacuum; people’s lives are more than their sexual behavior. We must also have frank conversations about the drivers of the HIV epidemic: racism, discrimination, stigma, lack of health insurance, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, substance use and the role that they play in furthering the epidemic in the Black/African-American community.

We must ensure that the new paradigms of treatment as prevention; regular HIV testing; regular STD screening/treatment; effective linkage to medical care for those who are test HIV positive; re-engagement into medical care for HIV positive individuals who have fallen out of care and PrEP/PEP are implemented/maximized in the Black African-American community.

At APLA Health we have actively engaged in a number of efforts to address HIV in the Black/African-American community.  We offer a number of prevention programs targeting those in the Black/African-American community most at risk and as well as offering HIV testing and STD screening/treatment services, PrEP/PEP and medical care for those living with HIV. We remain committed to doing our part to address HIV in the Black/African-American community.