On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, there is
a greater opportunity than ever to reverse the HIV epidemic in black Americans
as well as the nation as a whole, according to a statement from Kevin A.
Fenton, MD, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis,
STD, and TB Prevention at the CDC.
Today, we have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy that
directs the nation to focus its prevention efforts on communities at greatest
risk, including African-Americans the racial group most severely
impacted by HIV, Fenton, also an Infectious Disease News Editorial
Board member, said in the statement. African-American communities are
mobilized like never before, with many of the nations longstanding black
national organizations making HIV prevention a key priority.
Kevin A. Fenton, MD
Fenton said that while significant breakthroughs have
occurred in HIV prevention research and HIV testing has increased, the fight
against HIV is far from over.
The harsh reality is that today, even in the face
of great hope and promise, African-American communities continue to be
devastated by HIV, he said. Although only 14% of the US population,
African-Americans account for almost half of those living and dying with HIV
and AIDS in this country. HIV touches every corner of black communities.
According to the CDC, about 40% of new HIV infections
among blacks occur in those aged between 13 and 29 years young black gay
and bisexual men have experienced an almost 50% increase in new infections
within the past few years. Moreover, HIV is currently the third leading cause
of death among black women, aged between 35 and 44 years.
Factors such as homophobia and stigma prevent too many
in the black community from getting tested and if HIV positive, from getting
treated, according to Fenton.
At CDC, HIV prevention in black communities
remains one of our top priorities. Last year, we invested more than half of our
HIV prevention budget to fight HIV among African-Americans. Weve expanded
initiatives to reach more African-Americans with HIV testing, increased the
number and reach of HIV prevention programs in black communities, and are
working with our partners, like those in the Act Against AIDS Leadership
Initiative, to launch campaigns aimed at increasing HIV testing and awareness
among black women and black gay and bisexual men, among other groups. Yet we
have more work to do.
For more information about National Black HIV/AIDS
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