Human Rights Campaign Recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

by Admin

HRC Religion Council member Bishop John Selders issues call, "It is time to make the HIV/AIDS epidemic your epidemic, no matter your current health status, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, or race."

WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, today recognized National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and called for renewed efforts to address the disproportionate spread of the disease among black households.

"National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a wake-up call for the LGBT, faith and medical communities that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over. Despite the medical breakthroughs and prevention programs that have saved and prolonged lives, we know that HIV/AIDS continues to rob the physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of many in our community," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

Solmonese continued, "As more people learn to manage living with HIV/AIDS, it's far too easy to be resigned about the barriers that still prevent many black Americans from knowing their status and seeking out treatment. However, if we are to curb the disturbing statistics that tell the story each year of the disproportionate spread of HIV/AIDS among people of color, we must heed the words of Bishop John Selders, a member of HRC's Religion Council, who wrote in an article to be published at TheRoot.com, 'It is time to make the HIV/AIDS epidemic your epidemic, no matter your current health status, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.' "

Black Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population but account for nearly half of all new HIV infections and almost half of all Americans living with HIV. Recent analyses by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that in 2006, more new HIV infections occurred among young black men who have sex with men than in any other segment of the U.S. population. Black women acquired new HIV infections at 15 times the rate of white women that same year.

According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), essential measures for curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic among all communities include access to basic health care services routine HIV testing to ensure that HIV-infected individuals are identified early in their infection and begin treatment when it provides the most benefit and patient-management strategies to ensure adherence to treatment regimens.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is an annual effort and nationwide treatment campaign that was founded in 2001 to address the scourge of HIV/AIDS in black communities across the United States. A working group of national organizations directs, plans, and organizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read an article at TheRoot.com by Bishop John Selders, Jr., a member of HRC's Religion Council, on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Bishop Selders draws upon his experience as a pastor who works to address the total needs of HIV/AIDS patients to underscore the importance of each of us making the fight against HIV/AIDS a battle that we all must join in, regardless of one's health status, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.

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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