February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to encourage Black Americans to get educated, get tested, get treated, and get involved with HIV/AIDS related issues. This day calls to attention the alarming effect HIV/AIDS has on the Black community in Boston and across the nation.

Blacks continue to be over-represented in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although they represent only 25.3 percent of Boston’s population, Blacks account for 40 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Facts on HIV/AIDS in the Black community in Boston:
• Of the 5,220 cases of HIV/AIDS reported in Boston residents to date, Blacks account for 40 percent (2,904).
• Of Blacks residents in Boston living with HIV/AIDS, 60 percent are men and 40 percent are women.
• The predominant modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS among the Black residents living with HIV/AIDS are: heterosexual (21%), men who have sex with men (MSM, 20%) and injection drug use (17%).

What can you do?
Ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV! If you don’t have a primary care physician, you can contact the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050. Additional information on HIV testing resources is available at www.hivtest.org.

Educate yourself about what you can do to protect yourself against infection, and spread the word to others. More nformation on HIV and prevention is available here.

Organizations in Boston that provide HIV-related education and outreach to communities of color include:
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts
Multicultural AIDS Coalition