HIV/AIDS, An Epidemic among Blacks in America
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is directed, planned and organized by a working group of national organizations in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of this partnership is to to mobilize communities and address specific issues and best practices that are science-based and will influence the course of HIV in Black communities across our country.
According to the CDC, of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, HIV and AIDS have hit Black Americans the hardest. Latest estimates from their 2006 HIV Incidence (number of new cases) Surveillance System confirms
…that blacks experienced a disproportionate number of HIV infections. Forty-six percent of new HIV infections occurred in blacks, even though blacks comprise only 12% of the US population. The majority (65%) of new infections in blacks occurred in men. Among black men, 63% of new infections occurred through male-to-male sexual contact. Thirty five percent of new infections in blacks occurred in women. Of those, eighty-three percent of the infections occurred through high-risk heterosexual contact. The disparity in new infections was especially pronounced among women, with the incidence rate in black women being almost 15 times higher than that of white women.
Black life is worth saving! Get Educated…
When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that Black Americans have
- More illness. Even though all blacks account for about 13% of the United States population, we account for about half (49%) of the people who contract HIV and are diagnosed with AIDS.
- Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don’t live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
- More deaths. For Black Americans, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.
For Black men, the most common ways of contracting HIV (in order of frequency) are: having unprotected sex with another man who is HIV+ve, sharing injection drug works (like needles or syringes) with someone who is HIV+ve, and having unprotected sex with a woman who is HIV+ve. On the other hand, for Black women, the most common ways of contracting HIV (in order of frequency) are: having unprotected sex with a man who is HIV+ve and sharing injection drug works (like needles or syringes) with someone who is HIV+ve.
The segment of Blacks in America at highest risk for contracting HIV are those:
- who are unaware of their partner’s risk factors and/or HIV status
- with other STDs (which affect more Blacks than any other racial or ethnic group)
- who live in poverty (which is roughly one quarter or 25% of all Blacks)
To reverse these horrific trends, Blacks must overcome the stigma surrounding homosexual sex, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases to speak honestly with their intimate partners about their risk factors.
Find an event in your area recognizing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Health fairs and related activities are taking place across the country.