Observed each year for the past thirteen years on February 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is a day to promote HIV testing and raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Black community, one of the communities hardest hit by the disease. This year’s NBHAAD theme, “I am my brother/sister’s keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS,” reminds us that to effectuate change in any movement, we must work together for the collective good and sometimes this work requires us to put up a good fight.
More than any other racial/ethnic minority group, the Black community, and Black gay men in particular, continue to be disproportionately affected by this disease. In young, Black gay men, the numbers are especially staggering with approximately 1 in 4 new HIV infections occurring among this group according to the CDC.
There are four specific focal points of NBHAAD: education, testing, involvement, and treatment. Educationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7 of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV. When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus. Black people from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) need to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas. And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them treatment and care services becomes paramount.
To find a testing location close to you, go to http://hivtest.cdc.gov