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Feb. 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day | WDVM25 & DCW50


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Feb. 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to increase awareness, reduce the stigma, and promote testing and treatment within the African American community. 

Ahead of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC released new data showing that despite overall progress in reducing HIV transmission,  Black Americans disproportionately account for a higher rate of new HIV infections. The CDC reports that as of 2019 — Black people accounted for 13% of the U.S. population but made up 40% of the people living with HIV. HIV continues to affect the Black community compared to other groups due to long-standing and ingrained barriers.

“I think that really puts us at a disadvantage as Black people, knowing that you have to advocate for yourself,” said Alexandrea Ogunfolu, Infectious Disease Program Manager at CCI Health Services. “I think that’s something that we’re seeing a lot in terms of health care in general when it comes to some of these health disparities, is that we don’t speak up for ourselves. Or we’re going to these places in these spaces where people don’t think that we know what we’re talking about.”

Approximately 13% of Black people with HIV in the U.U. still do not know their status. But the stigma associated with HIV prevents many people, especially in the Black community, from even getting tested.

“There are critical services, and there is no victim, there is no fault, there is no shaming to the process,” said Carmi Washington-Flood, Chief at MDH’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships. “And so that’s where we have to address those stigma pieces.”

Specific social determinants such as education, employment, and housing also contribute to disparities by affecting a person’s access to care. Racism, discrimination, and mistrust in the health care system also result in unequal reach of HIV prevention such as Prep. 

For more information about CCI Health Services, click here.

For MDH’s free HIV home-testing kit, click here.

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