HIV/AIDS Branch News
||National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 7, 2010 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). This year’s Theme is: “HIV/AIDS Prevention-A Choice and a Lifestyle”. The aim is to garner a national mobilization effort that will emphasize the state of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, encourage HIV awareness and education among Black communities, and individual counseling and testing.
To raise awareness about the devastating HIV epidemic in the Black community, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, HIV/AIDS Branch is partnering with Kentucky State University and the NAACP chapter at Kentucky State University to present the highly acclaimed “Spoken Word” stage play titled “The Coochie Chronicles”. This powerful and engaging adaptation of the “Vagina Monologues” offers a frank, melodic exploration into the lives, sexuality, politics, stereotypes and realities of women of color. This multi-media production utilizes spoken word poetry, popular music, powerful imagery, and eye-opening statistics to chronicles the universal realities of womanhood and the unique experiences of women of color. It uses a series of culturally competent “Telling Our Stories” approach that incorporates messages about HIV and STD prevention, sexual health awareness, domestic violence, and gender empowerment. A component of the program provides free rapid HIV testing and counseling.
Educational efforts to target Black communities across the nation and within the commonwealth are important because these communities are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS.
- While blacks make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for nearly half of new HIV infections and almost half of the more than one million Americans estimated to be living with HIV. One in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in their lifetime, as will 1 in 30 black women. Black gay and bisexual men and black women are particularly hard hit by HIV. Sixty-three percent of new infections among black men occur among men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV-related deaths and HIV death rates are highest among Blacks who accounted for 57% of deaths due to HIV in 2006. Black men had the highest HIV death rates per 100,000 in men ages 25–34 and 35–44; Black women also had the highest HIV death rates among women in the same age categories.
- HIV/AIDS statistics in Kentucky mirror the national disparities. For example, African-Americans and Hispanics made up 7.7 percent and 2.2. percent of the state’s population respectively, yet accounted for disproportionately high numbers of new HIV diagnoses. According to 2007 data, 153 (38 percent) new cases were African-American, and 32 (8 percent) new cases were Hispanic. In fact, from 2003-2007, the AIDS diagnosis rate for African-Americans was approximately eight times higher than the rate for whites.
The event will take place February 7, 2010, at Kentucky State University’s Bradford Hall Auditorium, in Frankfort. Free rapid HIV testing will be available from 3:00pm-6:00pm. The play starts at 6:30pm. While the event is free, planners are asking that an item of canned goods be brought as a charitable donation.
For more information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events in Kentucky and HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, contact Beverly Mitchell, Minority Initiatives Coordinator, at (502) 564-6539, extension 3558. You can also visit the HIV/AIDS Branch’s web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/hivaids.htm and the NBHAAD website at http://www.blackaidsday.org/
||HIV Prevention Blueprint for the Nation
The Generals in the U.S. HIV/AIDS Fight Speak Out: Invest More Now or Run the Risk of Losing the Battle
The nation's AIDS directors have sent a clear message to the U.S. government and public: Increase America’s investment in HIV prevention or run the risk of losing the war against HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
As stewards of more than half of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s $663 million domestic HIV prevention program budget, as well as the significant resources from their own jurisdictions, AIDS directors are responsible for implementing comprehensive HIV/AIDS response across the country. This unique role makes them leaders in the nation’s fight to end the epidemic.
AIDS directors recently released their vision for America’s prevention response, A New Blueprint for the Nation: Ending the Epidemic Through the Power of Prevention (pdf, 256k), and a companion policy agenda (pdf, 60k).
In the early days of the epidemic, successful state and local programs led to a 75 percent decrease in the rate of HIV transmission in the U.S. Despite steady erosion in funding and an increasing number of people capable of transmitting the virus, these programs have kept the epidemic stable for more than 15 years.
Unfortunately, the nation is reaching a tipping point at which the nation’s prevention response is being threatened.
“Each year, tens of thousands of opportunities are missed, despite our relentless efforts," said Sigga M. Jagne, Kentucky AIDS director and executive committee member of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. "As long as the nation remains apathetic to prevention, our potential to be victorious in this fight diminishes.”
To stave off the looming crisis, AIDS directors are ramping up their programs to meet existing and anticipated challenges and sustain progress to date. To achieve these goals, they offer three recommendations:
- Adequately fund the CDC prevention program at a minimum of $1.3 billion dollars annually.
- Invest realistically in services that work to prevent infection, including access to sterile injection equipment, research to develop new population-specific interventions, enhanced programs in correctional settings and abandonment of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in favor of comprehensive sexuality education.
- Invest meaningfully in programs that support HIV prevention including STD treatment, substance abuse prevention and treatment, mental health services, housing and expanded research to identify an HIV vaccine and effective microbicides.
AIDS directors have called upon the federal government to make a commitment to end the epidemic in America and ensure leadership on the local level is fully supported and funded. In concluding the blueprint, they pledged their commitment to working toward an America without HIV/AIDS.
“We can never forget HIV disease is preventable," said Julie M. Scofield, executive director of NASTAD. "By building on the successes of the nation’s health department prevention programs - by far the most significant force we have in this fight - we can... turn the tide on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
From NASTAD, Nov. 27, 2007