For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Saturday, February 7 marks the ninth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  The theme this year is “Black Life is Worth Saving.”   Communities and organizations across the U.S. will sponsor programs on or around this date to call attention to the ever-rising numbers of African Americans diagnosed with HIV and seek solutions to reduce the spread of the virus.  Citizens are encouraged to get educated, get tested, get treated and get involved with HIV/AIDS as it continues to devastate black communities. 

Blacks are more disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS than any other ethnicity.  While making up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, blacks account for more than 49 percent of AIDS cases.  AIDS is now the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34, and the second leading cause of death for black men ages 35 to 44.  The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black adults and adolescents is 10 times the rate for whites and nearly three times the rate for Hispanics.  As of mid-December 2008, 22 percent of cumulative AIDS cases and 28 percent of HIV cases in Kansas were black.  However, blacks represent less than 6 percent of the Kansas population. 

Initiatives planned in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Kansas include: