Health officials in Maryland and beyond are using today's National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to urge people to get tested and treated for the illness.
According to a new CDC report on 37 states with longstanding, robust HIV surveillance systems, African Americans made up about 14 percent of the population but half of new HIV diagnoses in 2005-08. In Maryland, 78 percent of HIV/AIDS cases were African-American. At the end of 2009, 1 in 54 black men and 1 in 97 black women in the state were living with HIV/AIDS.
Last year, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provided HIV testing, partner services, and other interventions to more than 75,000 African Americans. However, officials maintain that more work is necessary to increase access to testing and counseling services and reduce stigma.
"With HIV, knowledge is power," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Maryland secretary of health and mental hygiene, in a statement. "Getting tested and treated can save your life."
For more information about the CDC report, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6004a2.htm?s_cid=mm6004a2_e%0d%0a.