Every year, February 7 is observed as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with an aim to raise awareness, spark conversations, and showcase the efforts done to reduce HIV among African American communities in the United States. This day also expresses sympathy to those in the community afflicted with this disease.
Although the term HIV/AIDs has not been in the spotlight as much in recent years, it is still wreaking havoc among the African-American community. Compared to other races/ethnicities, this community accounts for a large percentage of new patients and people living with HIV. In 2018, this community accounted for 42% of total new HIV cases diagnosed in the States. While in some parts of the country, the number of cases is falling by a certain percentage, in others, it continues to rise disproportionately. Among all the states, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina top the list of HIV cases in the Black community. This causes distress and raises an urgent need to shed light on this disease.
This is where National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a.k.a, NBHAAD, comes into the picture. This day speaks about the Black community's indomitable spirit of strength, faith, and optimism and helps them fight against this disease. It is dedicated to expanding access to HIV education, testing, treatment, preventive programs and making more and more people aware of this disease. So, read this article if you are eager to show your support to this community on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 20. It will guide you with all the important details that you must know about the awareness day and the disease to show your significant contribution.
Why Is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Important?
1. HIV/AIDS is a relentless virus that can easily get transmitted
HIV or AIDS is one of the diseases that can easily get transmitted and stay for years without being diagnosed. A person can live a normal life with HIV for several years, even without knowing it. Also, it can easily get passed by various ways, among which the most prominent ones remain unprotected intercourse with an HIV-positive person and sharing of needles and syringes.
2. The awareness day is part of a successful grassroots campaign
Over the years, this awareness day has been significant against the spread of the disease among the African-American community, and it appears to be succeeding. With persistent grassroots efforts to forge partnerships in financing research and the number of newly infected persons dropping or leveling out, this disease is still a cause of concern among all the communities and requires appropriate attention.
3. Women are more prone to get infected with HIV/AIDS
While HIV/AIDS can affect anyone of any age, women are more prone to getting infected. According to the studies carried out in the past few years, it is noted that women are more likely to get infected through heterosexual interaction. This is because the women who are married or are in a monogamous relationship feel secure and safe in having sexual contact without using a condom.
4. HIV/AIDS Prevention Challenges
Before you move ahead with observing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022, it is crucial to learn what stops people from getting the right treatment and care for curing the disease. Here are some of the prevention challenges that African American communities face.
Lack Of Awareness: The majority of the population suffering from HIV is unaware of their medical condition. Because of this, they are not able to get the necessary care and treatment, and hence they end up spreading the virus to others unknowingly.
Racism and Discrimination: Being a minority in the states, the Black community faces racism and discrimination by the healthcare system. This makes it less likely for them to get HIV treatment and care that they actually need.
Stigma and Fear: This is another major challenge that negatively affects the quality of life of people with HIV. Stigma and fear of prejudice discourage them from disclosing their status and seeking the necessary care.
Poverty: African American communities experience poverty at a higher rate which makes it even more difficult for them to access HIV prevention and treatment services. This restricts access to quality healthcare which directly raises the risk of HIV and negatively impacts the health of survivors. This explains why African Americans have poorer results across the HIV care continuum, including lower rates of viral suppression.
Higher Rate Of STD: STD or Sexually Transmitted Diseases is more common among African American men and women than in other racial/ethnic groups. This increases the risk of spreading or contracting HIV and not getting the right treatment for the disease.
How To Observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022?
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022 is around the corner, and it’s time to begin the planning. While there are multiple ways of honoring the event, some of our suggestions are given below. Have a look and bring a change in society.
- Get Yourself Tested For HIV/AIDS
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day understands the importance of getting tested for HIV and scheduling an appointment for yourself. If you have never been tested before, make sure you buy a home-testing kit or book an appointment with the doctor. You must also encourage your loved ones for the test.
- Host or Support An Event
Awareness Day requires a significant amount of effort, one of which is hosting an event. You can consider partnering with HIV organizations for the event and ask subject-matter experts to share their knowledge and speak about this health concern. If you don’t want to host on your own, you can also support an organization in organizing the event.
- Spread Awareness About HIV/AIDS
This is the most obvious way of supporting the African American people and other communities on the occasion of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The majority of the population is still unaware of the disease, and hence, you must spread the word to make them aware and take the right measure at the right time. This can be easily done by sharing the resources on social media, talking about the disease with your friends and families, distributing posters about the awareness day, sharing inspiring stories of survivors, and more.
- Practice Safe Sex
Indulging in unprotected sex is one of the most common ways of spreading HIV or AIDS. Regardless of sexual orientation, it is important to practice safe sex in order to prevent HIV infection and other STDs. On this awareness day, talk to your partner about prevention options like condoms or pre-exposure prophylaxis and take a pledge to use them every time.
- Honor The Survivors and Those Who Lost Their Lives
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a perfect opportunity to commemorate people who are presently living with HIV or AIDS as well as those who have died because of this disease. To pay your tribute, you can conduct or join a candlelight vigil at a church or an event at a community center. Other than that, you can also talk to the survivors and listen to their stories, or spend time with those who are dealing with the distress.
In the past few years, Black communities have made a significant stride in HIV prevention. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day has played a major role in this. However, racism, discrimination, and mistrust is still a barrier to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. To further reduce the burden and the health risks, it is essential to provide people with appropriate housing and transportation, work, and access to culturally competent health treatments. And all of this should be free from stigma and prejudice to achieve the desired results. On this awareness day, make sure you come forward and show your support and contribution in reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities in Black communities.
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