Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day across the United States. NAID took a moment–and we all should–to highlight the great disparity that exists between African Americans and other races/ethnicities in HIV and AIDS incidences. African American women are disproportionately burdened by the disease. And, the American South, where many Blacks live, the HIV epidemic is taking a toll on many young people.
This year’s theme is “It’s takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS”. Caribbean Americans know that it takes a village to overcome many challenges. I hoped every Black person in the United States t0ok some time today to consider the impact of HIV in their life and the lives of those they love. Although there is a separate HIV/AIDS awareness day specifically for those from the Caribbean region (June 8th), we are counted among the many Black Americans afflicted.
In fact, a recent epidemiological study showed that there is also disparity between foreign born and native born Blacks. Johnson et al. (2010) came to the conclusion that the epidemiology of HIV infection differs for the two groups; and that almost 12% of of Blacks diagnosed with HIV infection between 2001 and 2007 were foreign-born:
“Of these, 11.7% were foreign-born, with most from the Caribbean (54.1%) and Africa (41.5%). Annual HIV diagnoses decreased by 5.5% per year (95% confidence interval [CI] –5.9, –5.0) among native-born black people. Decreases were small among foreign-born black people (–1.3%; 95% CI –2.6, –0.1), who were more likely to be female, have HIV infection attributable to high-risk heterosexual contact, be diagnosed with AIDS within 12 months of HIV diagnosis, and survive one year and three years after an AIDS diagnosis.“
Whether its Blacks AIDS Awareness Day or Caribbean AIDS Awareness Day, we all need to participate and do our part in turn this epidemic around.
If you’re in the U.S, here is some information on where to go for information?
- Do you know your status? If not, text your zipcode to 566948 (“KNOWIT”) to find and HIV testing site near you or go to HIVtest.org.
- You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFORMATION for more information and testing sites in your area.
- Visit www.aids.gov for Federal resources, events in your area and tools to commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.