National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 7, 2013
Observed each year on Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at blacks in the United States and the diaspora. Feb. 7, 2013 marks the 13th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year's theme, I Am My Sister/Brother's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, is a call to action to work together to effectuate change for a collective approach to prevent the spread of HIV and reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS in African-American communities. There are four key focal areas of the initiative: education, testing, involvement and treatment.
HIV is a crisis in African-American communities, threatening the health, well-being and potential of African-American men and women across the United States. While prevention efforts have helped to maintain stability in the overall level of HIV infections among African Americans for more than a decade, African-Americans continue to face the most severe burden of HIV and AIDS of all racial/ethnic groups in the nation.
The Centers for Disease Control data confirm African Americans represent about 14 percent of the population, but represent almost half of those living with HIV in the U.S. (44 percent) and of new infections each year. In addition, HIV diagnosis rates among African-American men were 6.5 times higher than for white men and among African-American women were 15 times higher than for white women. Disparities also persist across different age groups, with African-Americans accounting for the highest proportion of HIV diagnoses for almost all age groups.
The causes of these inequities in HIV diagnoses among African-Americans may be due to contextual and structural factors like higher prevalence of other sexually transmitted infections in the community, lack of access to adequate health care, higher incarceration rates, lower income, lower educational attainment, racism, stigma and homophobia. To enhance efforts to end this epidemic, we should address the social, structural and contextual environments in which inequities occur in our prevention efforts.
Behavioral interventions and psychology play an important role in the domestic and global HIV epidemics. As APA strives to promote the application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives, we call for more research on behavioral factors such as people's willingness to start and stick with treatment, medication adherence and decision-making and the development of combination approaches that blend behavioral, biomedical and structural interventions.
We cannot let this crisis continue.
Get Educated. Get Tested. Get Involved. Get Treated.
Get educated: Knowing about HIV/AIDS empowers individuals and communities to act accordingly.
Get tested: Knowing your HIV status helps you keep yourself safe and others. Establish Feb. 7 as an annual day to get an HIV test.
Get involved: Locally, there are community based organizations, events and activities for you to get involved with.
Get treated: Seek out local resources and organizations that will assist you in accessing treatment and information.