Back HIV Populations Race/Ethnicity February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

alt

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS among African Americans -- the group that bears the greatest burden of the epidemic in the U.S. The theme for the 14th annual observance is "I Am My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper."

"All African Americans deserve lifesaving HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment services," said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans account for nearly half of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV and 44% of all new HIV infections in 2010, despite making up about 12% of the total population.

While there is good news that HIV incidence among black women has declined somewhat (though they still account for nearly two-thirds of all new infections among women), black gay men now have the highest incidence rate of any population subgroup. Men who have sex with men made up 51% of new infections among blacks, with the greatest number among men age 13 to 24.

Resources

In advance of NBHAAD, the CDC released a new report looking at progression along the "continuum of care" for African Americans diagnosed with HIV.

As described in the February 7 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, among blacks diagnosed with HIV infection in 2010, 75% were linked to care, 48% stayed in care, 46% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, and 35% achieved viral suppression. The latter percentage is almost the same as that of the population as a whole. (The overall proportion of people with viral suppression is around 25%, but that is a percentage of all people estimated to be infected with HIV, while the new 35% figure for blacks is a percentage of people diagnosed with HIV.)

The report also found that among African Americans, outcomes varied by subgroup, with black men being less likely to enter care and achieve viral suppression than women, and black youth under age 25 being less likely to do so than older people.

"The results of the analyses described in this report underscore the need for enhanced linkage to care, retention in care, and viral suppression for blacks, particularly black males and black youths," the study authors concluded. "Focusing prevention and care efforts on populations that bear a disproportionate burden of HIV disease could lead to reductions in HIV incidence and health inequities and help achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

"[N]ew data released today show that additional efforts are needed to ensure that individuals who are infected with HIV receive the care and treatment they need," Mermin said in the CDC's annual NBHAAD statement. "If we are to reduce HIV disparities in the U.S., and substantially prevent new infections, we must do a better job of addressing HIV in African American communities." 

Twitter Chat

On Friday at 9 am Pacific/12 noon Eastern Time, the CDC, AIDSVu, the NBHAAD Strategic Leadership Committee, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will sponsor a Twitter town hall to discuss "How do we end the HIV epidemic in Black America?" Participants will include Mermin (@DrMerminCDC), CDC director Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC), and Office of Minority Health director J. Nadine Gracia (@MinorityHealth). Participate via #NBHAADchat.

2/7/14

Sources

YO Whiteside, SM Cohen, H Bradley, et al. Progress Along the Continuum of HIV Care Among Blacks with Diagnosed HIV -- United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 63(5):85-89. February 7, 2014.

J Mermin, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7, 2014). Press release. February 6, 2014.

HD Dean. Progression on the HIV Continuum of Care Among Blacks. Blog.AIDS.gov. February 6, 2014.

T Harrison. Sharpening Our Focus on Black MSM Vital to Meeting National Goals. Blog.AIDS.gov. February 6, 2014.February 7 is the 13th annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS among African Americans -- the group that bears the greatest burden of the epidemic in the U.S.