Press Room

February 07, 2008

Category: HIV & AIDS

Human Rights Campaign Commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

HRC urges Congress to increase funding for life-saving treatment, care, and prevention

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and urges Congress to increase funding for life-saving treatment, care, and prevention, following the release of the President's budget which severely underfunded domestic HIV/AIDS programs.

"As research continues to show startling increases in HIV/AIDS cases in the African-American community, it is critical we raise awareness to confront this growing epidemic," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Just two and a half years after the Centers for Disease Control reported that 46 percent of African-American men who have sex with men in five major U.S. cities are already HIV-positive, we need Congress to counter the President's budget and increase funding for life-saving treatment, care, and prevention."

Last month, the New York Times reported that, following a period of decline of HIV/AIDS cases in men who have sex with men, New York City health officials estimate that diagnoses of HIV rose by 32% among gay men under 30 between 2001 and 2006, with the most staggering increases among gay men ages 13 to 19 and black and Hispanic gay men. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, approximately 500,000 are African-American. Furthermore, only 14 percent of African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS have access to private health insurance while 59 percent rely on Medicaid and 22 percent are uninsured.

This is the ninth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The first was held on February 23, 2001, with the date moving the following year. Its primary goal is to motivate African Americans to get tested and know their HIV status, to be educated about the transmission modes of HIV/AIDS and to get involved in their local community.

Many places provide testing for HIV infection. Common testing locations include local health departments, community based organizations, clinics, offices of private doctors, hospitals, and other sites set up specifically to provide HIV testing. For information on where to find an HIV testing site, visit the National HIV Testing Resources website at www.hivtest.org or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), 1-888-232-6348 (TTY), in English, en Español.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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