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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. A time to get tested!  Get involved! Get educated! Get treated!

The Richmond City Health District is conducting a special National Black HIV Day screening event February 7th at Southside Plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot at the Southside Community Service Center, 4100 Hull Street Road. The City Health Department is teaming up with the Virginia Department of Health to offer free confidential HIV testing on the Virginia Epidemiology Response Team (VERT) van.  City and state public health professionals will be available to answer questions about prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  It’s a celebration of empowerment in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a community mobilization initiative started 13 years ago targeted at Blacks throughout the United States. The initiative encourages HIV testing, AIDS treatment and greater involvement by the African American community and peoples of all colors to take steps to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on Blacks and African Americans.

In the United States, African Americans accounted for almost half of all new HIV infections in 2010, despite making up only 14% of the population.  This represents a rate that is eight times higher than for Whites. African American women also continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of other races and ethnicities.

In the City of Richmond, there were more than 100 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2011. Current estimates show that there are nearly 2,400 individuals living with HIV disease including AIDS in the City of Richmond, with African Americans accounting for approximately 75% of all diagnosed HIV disease.

The Richmond City Health District Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Program works with state and local agencies to combat HIV and sexually transmitted disease through community outreach, education, STI screening and clinical services. Much of their effort is focused on case-finding follow-up, to locate sexual partners of infected persons who may not know they’re infected.  It’s estimated that one in five persons in Virginia who are HIV positive, don’t even know they’re infected.

Getting tested is the only way to know if you or your partner is infected. By knowing your status, you can take steps to prevent spreading HIV to others. Also, if you’re positive, getting treatment as soon as possible will prevent more serious effects of the HIV virus to your health.

You can get locations of HIV testing facilities near you by calling the Virginia HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis Hotline at 1-800-533-4148. For information about the Richmond City Health District STI clinic, call 482-5500.

From: George Jones, Richmond City Health District