PHOTO COURTESY OF BLACK PR WIRE
(Black PR Wire) – National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is Feb. 7, a day to increase awareness about HIV among blacks/African Americans and encourage people to get involved in prevention efforts, get tested, and get treatment if they have HIV.
HIV diagnoses have fallen in recent years among black/African American women (25% decline from 2010 to 2016) and heterosexual men (26% decline). Diagnoses among young black/African American gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 24) decreased 5%. This good news shows that the nation’s HIV prevention efforts are helping reduce HIV infections among some blacks/African Americans.
Although the latest data show progress, efforts must continue. In 2017, nearly 17,000 blacks/African Americans received a new HIV diagnosis. Blacks/African Americans accounted for 43% of all HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas, despite making up 13% of the U.S. population. Also, from 2010 to 2016, HIV diagnoses increased 40% among black/African American gay and bisexual men aged 25-34.
This year NBHAAD’s theme, Together for Love: Stop HIV Stigma, focuses on shared responsibility for taking actions to help end HIV stigma – negative attitudes or beliefs about people with HIV. Stigma affects the emotional well-being and mental health of people who have HIV and can keep people from getting tested and treated for HIV. Ending HIV stigma is critical to reducing new HIV infections among African Americans and helping African Americans with HIV stay healthy.
WHAT TO DO?
Get the facts and get involved. Learn the facts about HIV and share this lifesaving information with others. Visit the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign site for resources that can help ﬁght HIV-related stigma and educate others about it. Use the Stigma Language Guide to choose supportive language when talking about HIV.
Get tested. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and those at high risk get tested at least once a year. Some sexually active gay and bisexual men may beneﬁt from more frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months).
To ﬁnd a testing site near you, visit Get Tested, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can also use a home testing kit, available in drugstores or online. More resources on testing are available from CDC’s Act Against AIDS campaign Doing It.
If you know you are HIV-negative, the following activities are highly effective and can help keep you from getting HIV:
• Taking medicine to prevent HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP) if you are HIVnegative and at high risk for getting the virus. Use the PrEP locator to ﬁnd a PrEP provider in your area.
• Using condoms the right way every time. Check out the condom locator to ﬁnd condoms near you.
• Never sharing syringes or other equipment or works to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
• Abstaining from sex (not having sex) and not sharing syringes or works are 100% effective ways to make sure you won’t get HIV from sex or injecting drugs. The following actions can also help lower your risk of getting HIV:
• Limiting your number of sex partners
• Getting tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.
• Choosing activities with little to no risk. You can learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).
If you have HIV, get in care and stay on treatment. Start treatment as soon as possible after you get a diagnosis. The most important thing you can do is take HIV medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
HIV medicine lowers the amount of virus (viral load) in your body, and taking it every day can make your viral load undetectable. If you get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can stay healthy for many years, and you have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV pdf icon[347 KB] to an HIV-negative partner. To make sure you keep an undetectable viral load, take your medicine as prescribed, and see your provider regularly to monitor your health.
Health departments, communitybased organizations (CBOs), providers, and other partners can
• screen all African Americans for HIV risk and test those at high risk at least once a year;
• expand the reach of HIV prevention programs or discuss HIV prevention options with patients;
• prescribe or link patients to PrEP if they are at very high risk for HIV;
• prescribe or link patients to PEP if they may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours;
• prescribe HIV prevention to help reduce HIV incidence in the United States;
• link patients to care or prescribe HIV treatment quickly after they get an HIV diagnosis and help them stay in care;
• learn how CDC helps health departments and CBOs plan, implement, and evaluate HIV prevention programs; and
• address stigma and discrimination.