National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NBHAAD) began in 1999 as a grass-roots education effort to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in the Black community. The 2021 NBHAAD theme is “We’re In This Together.” The DOJ Association of Black Attorneys (DOJABA) and DOJ Pride are joining forces to increase awareness and highlight the work being done to help end HIV transmission, show support for people living with HIV and AIDS, and reduce the stigma around discussing, preventing, and treating HIV and AIDS.
HIV is of particular concern to the Black and LGBTQ+ communities – including those people who are members of both. According to recent Centers for Disease Control statistics, Blackpeople account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. These statistics represent people across the very diverse Black community—parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, friends, and other loved ones. For example, in 2018, Black people accounted for 13% of the US population but 42% (16,002) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. That same year, Black gay and bisexual men and other Black men who reported male-to-male sexual contact aged 13 and older accounted for 26% (9,712) of new HIV diagnoses and 37% of new diagnoses among all gay and bisexual men. The good news is that, between 2014 and 2018, HIV diagnosis trends have either stabilized or improved for most age groups across the Black community, and for Black gay and bisexual men specifically. But for both groups, HIV diagnosis rates were up for those between 24 – 35 years old – 7% and 17%, respectively. And in 2017, HIV diagnosis rates for transgender women were three times the national average, and a 2019 systemic study and meta-analysis estimates that 44% of Black transgender women are HIV positive.
Importantly, HIV/AIDS and the related stigma around prevention, transmission and treatment continue to disproportionately impact our communities as a whole. In support of NBHAAD, DOJABA and DOJ Pride are encouraging members in our communities to join us in taking action to address the effects of HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Celebrate this day with us by raising awareness, reading and sharing informational materials, and helping disrupt the stigma around HIV/AIDS, through both care and conversation. Know your status–taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable, and people who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) can stay healthy for many years and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.
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