African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that they accounted for nearly half (44%) of all new infections in 2010, despite making up only 14% of the population. This represents a rate that is eight times as high as that of whites.
Most of these infections are in African American men, most of whom are men who have sex with men (MSM). Young black MSM, in fact, account for more new infections than any other subgroup by race/ethnicity, age, and sex.
While African American women also continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of other races/ethnicities, recent data show early signs of an encouraging decrease in new HIV infections. CDC is cautiously optimistic that this is the beginning of a longer-term trend.
Today, we have many more opportunities than ever before to reduce the burden of HIV that African American men, women, and young adults bear. Working together with state and local public health agencies, African American communities, and other partners in the public and private sectors, CDC continues to address the HIV epidemic in African American communities.
One of these efforts is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, directed, planned, and organized by a group of organizations that partner with CDC to mobilize communities across the country to fight HIV and lessen its impact on African American communities.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was started 13 years ago to mobilize people in African American communities to
- Get educated about the basic facts on HIV and AIDS.
- Get tested for HIV. Knowing your status saves lives!
- Get involved to raise HIV awareness and fight stigma about HIV.
- Get treated if living with HIV or newly diagnosed.
The theme for 2013, I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, emphasizes that all African Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, economic class, or educational level, can be an important part of the solution to the HIV epidemic in African American communities.
Why Do African Americans Face a Higher Risk of HIV Infection?
Research shows that African Americans do not engage in riskier behavior than members of other racial/ethnic groups. However, there are many social and economic barriers that can increase the risk of HIV.
- The higher the proportion of people living with HIV in a community, the greater the risk with each new sexual encounter of having a sexual partner who has HIV.
- Higher rates of other sexually transmitted infections can increase the chance of getting and spreading HIV.
- Social and economic realities—such as poverty, racial discrimination, limited access to health care and housing, and incarceration—are associated with increased risk of HIV.
- Stigma, fear, and silence can increase the risk of HIV while decreasing the willingness to get support, get tested, and get treatment, if needed.
What Can You Do?
- Learn about HIV and AIDS. Educate yourself, friends, and family about HIV and AIDS and what you can do to protect yourself.
- Get tested for HIV. To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit theNational HIV and STD Testing Resources website, or, on your cell phone, text your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948).
- Speak out against stigma, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.
- Donate time to HIV and AIDS organizations that work in African American communities.
What Can Community Organizations Do?
- Promote National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) within your business, church, or other organization, by downloading the NBHAAD toolkit. HIV awareness and testing events can provide important information that people can use to protect their health and the health of their loved ones, and to get involved.
- Educate your organization about HIV and AIDS and encourage staff and members to get involved in NBHAAD activities.
- National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day website
- CDC: HIV Among African Americans
Information and resources on HIV and AIDS in African American communities.
- CDC: Basic Information about HIV and AIDS
Learn about HIV and AIDS, how it is and is not transmitted, the risk factors for HIV transmission, preventing transmission, and the symptoms of HIV infection.
- HIV Among African Americans [VIDEO – 1:01]
- Factors Driving the HIV Epidemic [VIDEO – 2:43]
- HIV Among African American Women [VIDEO – 1:12]
- Act Against AIDS campaign
- Testing Makes Us Stronger campaign
- Take Charge. Take the Test. campaign
- Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign