The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council Legislative and Public Affairs Director Kali Lindsey:
Washington, DC – “Today, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) joins the entire HIV/AIDS community in marking the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). The theme of this year’s NBHAAD is ‘Changing the Course of HIV/AIDS, 1 Black Life at a Time,’ and is focused on empowering Black Americans to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic through education, testing, engagement and treatment.
“Despite representing only 14 percent of the population, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009. Compared with members of other races, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease—from new infections to deaths. African American women remain 15 times more likely to be infected with HIV than their White counterparts, and between 2006 and 2009, infections among young gay Black men spiked 48 percent.
“The HIV/AIDS community is at a turning point. Advances in research like ‘Treatment as Prevention’ and expanded health care coverage that will accompany implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide the best opportunity in three decades to bring an end to this terrible epidemic. As the most severely impacted racial/ethnic group in the country, leadership from within the African American community, inclusive of our faith-based and private sector allies, will be critical if we are to successfully translate this promise into reality. For its part, NMAC is working with leaders across the country to ensure that the African American community is engaged in strategic decisions that will target the elimination of barriers to prevention and care services that drive the epidemic among this community.
“For 25 years, NMAC has worked to develop leadership in the African American community to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, but for the first time in the history of this epidemic, we now have the tools to bring it to an end. NMAC is committed to working with its brothers and sisters in the African American community to realize this dream. On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day, we urge all Americans to get involved by getting tested, standing up and speaking out about stigma and discrimination. Now is our time, and NMAC will not rest until the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a thing of the past.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333