Local and Community News
Black AIDS Day Will Focus on Growing Risk
February 4, 2003
Of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans in 2001, 78 percent were black, according to CDC statistics. Nationally, black people comprise 13 percent of the population, yet they account for 38 percent of all cases of HIV/AIDS -- more than any other racial or ethnic group.Adapted from:
"We're being diagnosed faster than we're being born," said Lisa Berry of the nonprofit Brotherhood Inc. "As it stands, African Americans are the largest disproportionately affected population."
Brotherhood Inc. provides HIV/AIDS prevention and education services, and Berry, its administrative assistant, is local spokesperson for the 3rd annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7. Across the country, more than 150 organizations in 60 cities will participate.
Lack of education is the reason Berry cites for the HIV/AIDS problem in the black population. "I don't think they realize they are at risk," she said, noting that many in the black community still think of HIV as a gay white man's disease. Brotherhood Inc. will observe Awareness Day with a free health fair at its Canal Street offices. Open to everyone, the fair will offer confidential HIV testing as well as free cholesterol, eye, glucose, blood pressure and STD screenings.
Berry says getting people to come back for their test results, which take two weeks to process, is "one of our biggest obstacles." Participants must go to the Brotherhood office to find out their results; they are not given over the phone. Brotherhood refers those who test positive for free medical help.
Last year's Awareness Day in New Orleans drew 200-300 participants, Berry said. Awareness Day is a project of the Community Capacity Building Coalition, a group of organizations committed to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the black community. The coalition is financed by CDC through the National Minority AIDS Initiatives. For more information, telephone 504-566-7995 or visit www.blackaidsday.org.
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
01.30.03; Valerie Faciane
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.