February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). The theme for NBHAAD, I Am My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS, emphasizes the role that everyone can play in HIV prevention.
Compared to other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, blacks/African Americans* have a disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS. While blacks represent approximately 12% of the US population, they account for more new HIV diagnoses (44%) and people living with HIV (41%) than any other racial/ethnic group. Among all blacks , black gay and bisexual men account for the majority of new infections. Young black gay and bisexual men are especially affected.
Nevertheless, we have seen encouraging signs of progress. From 2005 to 2014, new HIV diagnoses fell sharply (42%) among black women. Though new diagnoses among black gay and bisexual men rose significantly (22%) over the last decade, they have increased only slightly since 2010, suggesting that focused HIV prevention efforts are having an effect and need to continue.
What is CDC Doing?
CDC and its partners are working hard to end the HIV epidemic among blacks. Among its many activities, CDC funds health departments and community organizations that serve black communities. These funds help provide HIV testing, prevention services, and linkage to care for persons who are HIV positive. CDC’s prevention campaigns through the Act Against AIDSinitiative raise HIV awareness among all Americans and focus on reducing HIV risk among the most affected populations. CDC recently launched a new partnership, Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS, with organizations representing the populations hardest hit by HIV, including black communities.
But more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone knows how to protect themselves and their partners against HIV. You can help.
What Can You Do?
Start talking. Learn the facts about HIV, and share this lifesaving information with your family, friends, and community. Let’s Stop HIV Together, part of Act Against AIDS, has many resources for raising awareness about HIV.
Start Doing It – getting tested for HIV. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy.
- To find a testing site near you, visit Get Tested, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). You can also use a home testing kit available in drugstores or online.
- Learn more about HIV testing.
Protect yourself and your partner. Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV. You can
- Use condoms the right way every time you have sex
- Choose less risky sexual behaviors
- Limit your number of sexual partners
- Never share needles
- Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taking medicine daily to prevent HIV infection, if you are at very high risk for HIV
- Talk to your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 3 days through sex, sharing needles and works, or a sexual assault
Get treated. If you are HIV-positive, start medical care and begin taking medicines to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy (ART), as soon as possible. These medicines reduce the amount of HIV (viral load) in the blood and elsewhere in the body to very low levels, called viral suppression. They can even reduce the viral load to such a low level that it is undetectable. Being virally suppressed or having an undetectable viral load is good for an HIV-positive person’s overall health. It also greatly reduces the chance of transmitting the virus to a partner who does not have HIV. Learn how you can live well with HIV.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s new HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).