Although you may not hear these terms as frequently as in the past, HIV/AIDS is still wreaking havoc in the African-American community. If you are African-American, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) provides the most recent information on the infection and disease. Every February 7, NBHAAD features inspirational survivor stories, tips on how to live a healthy life, more positive lifestyle, and information on the most recent innovations in education and treatment. NBHAAD speaks to the black community’s resilient spirit of strength, faith, and hope.
AIDS AWENESS DAY
Importance of HIV/AIDS day
It is part of a successful grassroots campaign. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is part of a major offensive against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community, and it appears to be working. Despite increased education efforts and a continued push for testing and treatment options, the CDC estimates that 471,500 African-Americans are infected with HIV. The number of newly infected people, on the other hand, is declining or levelling off. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day still matters after 18 years of persistent grassroots efforts to forge partnerships in funding research, because it keeps the conversation going not only in the black community, but in all communities.
Despite constituting only 12% of the US population, African-Americans accounted for 44% of HIV diagnoses in 2016. In fact, you can have HIV for years without knowing it. Engaging in unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person or sharing needles and syringes are two risky behaviors for spreading the virus. African-American women have benefited from increased HIV/AIDS education and treatment. However, the CDC reported that over 7,000 women were newly diagnosed in 2016. Many of these women were infected through heterosexual contact because married or otherwise monogamous women may feel “safe” without using condoms.
What to do on AIDS Awareness Day?
- Chairman Julian Bond publicly tested positive for HIV on the first day of the NAACP convention in July 2006. This communicated to the black community the importance of getting tested. Follow that lead and commit to taking this step if you have never been tested. Purchase a home-testing kit from a drugstore or online. Test for other sexually transmitted diseases while you’re at it.
- One of the most serious risks in spreading HIV/AIDS is engaging in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex — regardless of sexual orientation.
- It is a time to remember those who are currently living with HIV or AIDS, as well as those who have died as a result of the disease. Attend a candlelight vigil at a church or a community center program. Place fresh flowers on the grave of a loved one. Alternatively, sit quietly in front of a small shrine you may have at home and remember fondly the good times you shared with a friend, partner, spouse, or relative.
Facts about HIV/AIDS
- It’s a virus that never stops. Depending on the environment, temperature, and other factors, HIV can live in a used needle for up to 42 days.
- It used to go by another name. The original acronym for AIDS was GRID, which stood for Gay-Related Immune Deficiency and was first mentioned in a 1982 “New York Times” article.
- It primarily affects women who have experienced sexual abuse. Women who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors such as exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple partners, or engaging in unprotected sex.
- HIV does not always progress to AIDS. Many HIV-positive people will never develop AIDS as a result of powerful new drugs.
- The Affordable Care Act covers it. Under Medicaid expansion, the ACA provides free or low-cost treatment and medication coverage to low-income HIV-positive patients.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Dates