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:
- Sedgwick County Health Department will provide free same-day tests at the Atwater Community Center, 2755 E. 19th St., on February 7. For additional information, call 316-660-9370.
- Positive Directions will be providing HIV testing at the Center on Health & Wellness, 2707 E. 21st N. and 414 S. Commerce, Wichita. For more information, call 316-263-2214.
- Douglas County AIDS Project will be providing free walk-in testing on Friday, February 6 at the United Way Building for Human Service, 2518 Ridge Road, Suite 101, in Lawrence. The agency will also be conducting free HIV testing at the University of Kansas Student Union on Tuesday, February 10 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 785-843-0040.
- Barton County Health Department will be offering free HIV counseling and testing at 1300 Kansas Ave., Great Bend, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 12. For more information, call 620-793-1902.
- Leavenworth County Health Department will be providing free HIV testing from 8 -11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 11 at 500 Eisenhower, Leavenworth. For more information call 913-250-2004.
- Good Samaritan Project will be collaborating with T.I.P.S. (Taking It To The Pews) on February 11 at the Third Street Church of God, 1907 N. 3rd St., Kansas City, Kan., and again on February 18 at the Trinity AME Church, 2201 N. 5th St. Both events serve as the kick-off for the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. The programs will begin at 7 p.m. For additional information, call 816-561-8784.