Today marks the 13th observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Founded in 1999 by five organizations-- the Concerned Black Men, Inc. of Philadelphia; Health Watch Information and Promotion Services, Inc.; Jackson State University - Mississippi Urban Research Center; National Black Alcoholism and Addictions Council; and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS--NBHAAD, is a mobilization effort designed to provide education, offer accessible testing options, encourage community involvement, and connect those already affected by HIV/AIDS with adequate treatment within African American communities nationwide.
Currently, nearly 20,000 African Americans in the United States test positive for HIV each year. In 2008, the diagnosis rate of HIV among African Americans was as much as 9 times that of white Americans. Given the disproportionate toll this terrible epidemic has had on the African American population, it is critical that we proactively implement and support education and prevention efforts that are specifically aimed towards the Black community.
In addition to the general African American population, studies show staggering rates of new HIV infection among gay and bisexual African American men. As reported by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), nearly 1 in 3 gay and bisexual black men living in an urban area is infected with HIV, and the majority does not know they are infected. The CDCalso reports that among transgender persons, the highest percentage of newly identified HIV infections are among African Americans (4.4%). In New York City alone, from 2005-2009, there were 206 new diagnoses of HIV infection among transgender people, 95% of which were among transgender women. Approximately 90% of transgender people newly diagnosed with HIV infection were Black or Hispanic.
GLAAD stands in solidarity with the rest of the LGBT community and those working to end the HIV/AIDS epedmic to raise visiblity about the infection and its impact on families and individuals.
For more information National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and to learn how you can get involved, please visit NationalBlackAIDSDay.org and continue to follow the GLAAD blog for more LGBT-inclusive coverage during Black History Month.
*Hat tip to Fenway Health for a very informative graphic.