For Immediate Release
February 1, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Sunday, February 7, marks the 10th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Communities and organizations across the U.S. will sponsor programs on or around this date to call attention to the problem and seek solutions to halt the epidemic.  Citizens are encouraged to get educated, get tested, get treated and get involved with HIV/AIDS as it continues to devastate black communities.

“While anyone can get HIV, our racial and ethnic communities in Kansas bear a disproportionate share of the burden,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. 

The black community is more disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS than any other ethnicity.  While making up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, blacks account for 48 percent of new HIV cases. AIDS is the number one killer of black women ages 25-34. As of December 2008, 28 percent of cumulative HIV cases and 23 percent of AIDS cases in Kansas were black. However, blacks represent about 6 percent of the Kansas population.

Education, testing, treatment and involvement can help stem the HIV epidemic.  KDHE recommends testing for HIV to help stop the spread of HIV. 

“If you or your partner has ever been at risk for getting HIV, you absolutely should get tested.  HIV testing is available in 101 sites in Kansas,” said L. William Lyons, Director of HIV/AIDS Program at KDHE.  “It’s also a good idea to ask about services that are available and ways to prevent spreading HIV in the future.”

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

Wichita

Hutchinson

Olathe

Kansas City

Junction City

Lawrence

Great Bend