FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Circe LeCompte, Director of Communications Phone: (202) 234-5120 x 309
The National Minority AIDS Council Honors National HIV Testing Day Today, June 27, 2008
Washington, DC – June 27, 2008 – The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is proud to support the 2008 National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). Held annually on June 27, the event was launched in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of knowing one’s HIV status and to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. To commemorate its 14th annual day of recognition, thousands of individuals, community-based organizations, and health departments across the country will host events for National HIV Testing Day this year.
NMAC encourages everyone to take advantage of the many NHTD events taking place nationwide. “An early diagnosis could mean the difference between life and death,” urges Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC. “Those who know their status can get into care and treatment earlier, improving their chances for long term survival. They also can learn how to protect their partners and stop the further spread of the disease.”
Testing for HIV remains a vital combatant in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, and one quarter, of those people – approximately 250,000 – are unaware of their status. HIV counseling and testing enables people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.
NHTD organizers will also reach out to communities at increased risk of HIV infection, including African American and Latino populations, both of which are disproportionately affected with HIV when compared to other demographic groups in the United States. Though each represents only approximately 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans and Latinos account for over 70% of all new HIV cases reported each year to the CDC. Rates of HIV infection are on the rise among Asian and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans as well.
“Social, economic, educational and political disenfranchisement have helped fuel HIV infections in communities of color nationwide,” says Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC’s Director of
To learn more about NHTD activities in your area, visit the NAPWA HIV Testing Day Web site, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other useful resources:
- www.AIDS.gov – The gateway to all Federal domestic information on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, research, policies and resources.
- www.hivtest.org – To find an HIV testing location near you.
- Send a text message with your zip code to KNOWIT (566948) to find an HIV testingcenter near you.
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) was founded in 1987 to develop leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. NMAC has responded to the needs of communities of color by developing programs enhancing the skills necessary to confront this health crisis, including a public policy education program; national and regional training conferences; treatment and research programs and trainings; numerous publications and a website: www.nmac.org. The agency also serves an association of AIDS service organizations, F/CBOs, hospitals, clinics, health departments and other groups assisting people and families living with and affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC’s advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only.