hivaidsribbonTomorrow, 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 24.4 percent of Boston’s population, Blacks account for 40 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Some facts on HIV/AIDS in the Black community in Boston:

  • Of the 5,342 cases of HIV/AIDS reported in Boston residents to date, Blacks accounted for 2,154 of the cases.
  • Of Blacks living with HIV/AIDS, 60 percent are men and 40 percent are women.
  • The age breakdown of Blacks in Boston living with HIV/AIDS:
    •   0 – 39 years:  19 percent
    • 40 – 44 years:  12 percent
    • 45 – 49 years:  17 percent
    • 50+ years:  52 percent
  • 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 (21%) and injection drug use (16%).

What can you do?

  • Ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV!

If you don’t have a doctor, you can contact the Mayor’s Health Line at (617) 534-5050.

  • Attend an event!

On February 7, Whittier Street Health Center is showing End Game: AIDS in Black America, and hosting a panel discussion with director Renata Simone at 4pm. Click here for more information or to register.

On February 8, the Young Women Health Leadership Academy will host Black Empowered: Your Body… Your Temple at The City School in Uphams Corner from 5pm to 8pm. Call (617) 620-4458 or email tiesha.pough@bostonabcd.org for more information. They will be performing free HIV rapid testing – results in 20 minutes.

Also on February 8, Fenway Health is hosting a training called Improving Cultural Competency and Clinical Care for Women of Color with HIV/AIDS. For more information and to preregister, click here.

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