Because AIDS is a leading killer of black men and women and the impact of HIV and AIDS is global, Feb. 7 was reserved as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to highlight the effect of HIV/AIDS on the African American community.
Many individuals infected with the disease are unaware of their HIV status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. According to the 2000 census, black Americans make up approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population. However, in 2005, they accounted for 49 percent of the estimated 37,331 new HIV/AIDS diagnosis in the United States in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.
Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a national mobilization effort designed to encourage black men and women across the United States to get educated, tested, treated and involved with HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate black communities.
As the lead HIV/AIDS agency in Alaska, the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four A's), serves 91 percent of the state. Prevention activities the Four A's offers include free condoms - which are available in buckets located in several local businesses around Juneau and at the Four A's office - free and confidential HIV rapid testing and education for individuals to learn more about how to reduce their risk for HIV infection.
The local Four A's office is in Room 207 of the Emporium Mall, above Heritage Coffee. Call 586-6089 or visit www.alaskanaids.org for more information.