National Black HIV/AIDS Day brings new statistics

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44 percent of new HIV infections in 2009. Over the same period, the rate of new HIV infections among black women was 15 times that of White women, and over 3 times the rate of Hispanic/Latina women.

At some point in their lives, approximately 1 in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV infection, many of whom will be black gay men, as will 1 in 32 Black women. Black transgender women are more likely to become newly infected with HIV and studies have shown that infection rates for transgender women of all races range from 11.8 percent to 27.7 percent.

Furthermore, Latinos represented 16 percent of the population but accounted for 20 percent of new HIV infections in 2009. In 2009, the estimated rate of new HIV infections among Latinos was 2.5 times that for White men; for Latinas, the rate was 4.5 times that for white women.

The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), a partnership of more than 25 national and local organizations, recommends the following as part of a comprehensive strategy for reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS –

  • expanding the availability of HIV testing
  • implementing a national media outreach campaign focusing on people of color
  • directing HIV prevention and testing activities to those at highest risk
  • providing adequate funding, technical assistance, capacity building, and infrastructure development to black and other minority-led organizations
  • prioritizing effective and evidence-based programs and interventions
  • combining prevention approaches

National Black HIV/AIDS Day was commemorated on February 7th. And the Health Department announced that new HIV data shows a 41% drop in deaths among black persons living with HIV/AIDS between 2001 and 2010. Blacks were, however, more likely than all other racial/ethnic groups in the City to have had an HIV test in the past 12 months. To commemorate the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today, the Health Department reminds all New Yorkers who do not know their HIV status to get tested for HIV, take the necessary precautions to stay negative and protect their partners.

“After more than 30 years of battling HIV, it’s still a disease that disproportionately impacts our vulnerable community members,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “With our new treatment recommendations released in December, I am more optimistic than ever that we can continue to drive down rates of infection and we may see the end of this epidemic in my lifetime. To that end, we cannot let up on our prevention efforts. Everyone should get tested, and if you’re positive, get into treatment and stay in treatment.”

“Although it’s important to know your HIV status, getting tested does not equal prevention so everyone who is having sex or injecting drugs should take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and hepatitis transmission,” said Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “I look forward to the day when events like National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day are no longer necessary. Until then, we need to make every day HIV awareness day. I encourage every New Yorker that does not know his or her status to visit our NYC Knows Facebook page or call 311 to find the nearest location where testing is available.”

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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