Health and Family Services Cabinet
Statewide Events Planned for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
In an effort to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the African-American community, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is taking part in a nationwide effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
On Feb. 7, DPH and other organizations will observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a community mobilization effort that will emphasize the threat of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans and encourage individuals to be counseled and tested for the virus.
Health officials view this campaign as a critical effort to stop the continuing devastation caused by HIV/AIDS in African-American communities across the nation and in Kentucky.
In 2003, the AIDS rate for African-Americans was approximately eight times higher than for whites in Kentucky. Similarly, AIDS rates for African-American males in Kentucky are seven times higher than white males in Kentucky. African-American females in Kentucky have AIDS rates 13 times higher than white females in Kentucky.
AIDS ranked as the second leading cause of death for African-American males age 25 to 44 in the commonwealth.
“We continue to see disparities in HIV/AIDS rates in the black community compared to other races and ethnic groups,” said DPH Commissioner William D. Hacker, M.D. “The Department for Public Health is committed to understanding why HIV/AIDS rates are higher in Kentucky’s African-American communities and making those differences disappear. Public education is the first step.”
The following observances and activities have been planned for Kentucky in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
· Statewide information flyers will be distributed to area churches and community functions.
· An HIV/AIDS awareness program by Matthew 25 AIDS Services, a local non-profit organization, will take place in Henderson.
· The “Test for Taste” by Volunteers of America is being planned in Louisville.
· HIV testing will be available at various sites throughout Kentucky.
· Media events (newspaper, television and radio) also are being planned.
Other awareness events may be scheduled throughout the commonwealth during the week of Feb. 7. Check your local community calendar for specific events and locations.
Further information about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing can be obtained by contacting your local health department or Beverly Mitchell, DPH’s HIV/AIDS branch, at (502)564-6539 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a copy of the HIV/AIDS semi-annual report, go to http://publichealth.state.ky.us/hiv-aids.htm.