Originally published Feb. 6, 2012
African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite representing only 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year.
In Georgia, African Americans represented 30 percent of the total population in 2009, but 74 percent of all diagnosed HIV cases. Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease – from new infections to deaths.
On February 7, 2012, DPH will join the nation in recognizing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) as a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted to reach African Americans in the United States. There are four specific focal points: education, testing, involvement, and treatment.
Educationally, the focus is to get African Americans educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that African Americans will mark February 7th of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV.
When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting African Americans involved to serve as community advocates and volunteers to encourage others to get educated and tested for HIV is a key focus area. And finally, getting those living with HIV or those who recently tested positive for the virus connected to treatment and care services is paramount.
DPH is committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the African American community by partnering and supporting local community partners during NBHAAD. For more information, please visit http://health.state.ga.us/programs/stdhiv/index.asp