Today, February 7, is the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). As the HIV/AIDS community focuses and repurposes its services and programs to help realize the very real potential that we could end this epidemic in our lifetime, the National Minority AIDS Council is working hard to ensure that the African American community is front and center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Despite representing only 14% of the US population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections in that year. Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease—from new infections to deaths. African American women remain 15 times more likely to be infected with HIV than their White counterparts, and infection rates among Black gay men are alarmingly high. Between 2006 and 2009, infections among young gay Black men spiked 48%!
NMAC is working hard in Washington to protect critical HIV/AIDS funding and to support the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to expand access to health care coverage. Perhaps most notably, NMAC will file its first ever friend of court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court this month in support of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which will expand access to millions of Americans, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
We have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but there’s much work to be done. NMAC is committed to ensuring that this vision becomes a reality. We realize that if we are to be successful, we must empower the African American community to lead the charge.
Through its Men’s Institute of Leadership Excellence and Service (MILES), NMAC is enhancing the capacity of leadership staff, particularly within the African American gay community to end this epidemic. It’s Treatment Education, Adherence and Mobilization Division (TEAM) is working to lay the groundwork for implementation of treatment as prevention and other critical biomedical interventions. To complement our work with African American women throughout the year, this year’s target population at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Las Vegas, NV will be women, especially Black women. The conference will provide critical information and tools to address HIV’s impact on women of color in communities throughout the U.S. NMAC will also hold a series of town halls and community forums throughout the year to engage the broader African American community in identifying solutions to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
NMAC is proud to stand with the entire HIV/AIDS community in commemorating NHBAAD, which focuses on education, testing, involvement and treatment. The theme of this year’s day is “Changing the Course of HIV/AIDS, 1 Black Life at a Time!” We hope that you will join us in our fight, as we work to not only change the course of this epidemic, but to actually end it.
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) develops leadership in communities of color to END the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website: http://www.nmac.org/.
Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC’s advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only.
For more information, contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the agency online at http://www.nmac.org/