Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I cannot stress the importance of this day since black Americans are the most at risk population for acquiring an HIV infection.
In fact, in Indiana alone, black Americans make up almost 50 percent of all new HIV infections, yet only account for 10 percent of the total population.
Black men who have sex with men have higher rates of HIV infection than any other group in the nation. The rates of infection for black women are falling according to the CDC, but they are still almost four times higher than rates for Hispanic/Latino and white women.
- In 2014, 44% (19,540) of estimated new HIV diagnoses in the United States were among African Americans, who comprise 12% of the US population.
- In 2014, an estimated 1,350 Hispanic/Latino women and 1,483 white women were diagnosed with HIV, compared to 5,128 African American women.
- From 2005 to 2014, the number of new HIV diagnoses among young African American gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 24) increased 87%. But that trend has leveled off recently, with the number declining 2% since 2010.
- In 2014, an estimated 48% (10,045) of those diagnosed with AIDS in the United States were African Americans. By the end of 2014, 42% (504,354) of those ever diagnosed with AIDS were African Americans.
The reasons behind these shocking numbers are not surprising; lack of awareness of HIV status, higher poverty rates within the black American community which limits access to high-quality health care, and stigma and discrimination associated with HIV testing are all to blame for higher HIV infection rates.
So, on this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, help us fight the stigma and spread the word about HIV infection in the black American community. The more we talk about HIV and knowing your status by getting tested (and owning your status!), the more likely we are to stop the spread of HIV.
Photo: Evan Welsch | freeimages.com