ALBANY, NY (01/29/2008)(readMedia)-- February 7, 2008 marks the eighth annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). This observance was created to educate African Americans about HIV/AIDS and its devastating effects on communities across the United States.
Over the last decade, African Americans and communities of color have come to bear the greatest burden of the AIDS epidemic in the US. While African Americans represent approximately 13% of the population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that they account for over half of all new cases of HIV/AIDS. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African American women ages 25 to 34 and second leading cause of death for African American men ages 35 to 44. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, HIV/AIDS is one of the top 10 leading causes of death for all African Americans. In the US, 72 African Americans are infected with HIV every day.
The AIDS Council of Northeastern New York joins as a part of a national mobilization effort to raise awareness about the threat posed by HIV/AIDS, encourage HIV testing and commit to fight the disease. More than 800 cities across the country will sponsor programs on February 7th. In the Capital Region, the AIDS Council will be hosting free and confidential HIV and STD testing at several community locations including 927 Broadway from 9:30AM-4:00PM, 245 Lark from 6:00PM-8:00PM and Waterworks Pub from 11:00PM-3:00AM. No appointment is needed for testing. The Council encourages citizens to get educated, get tested, get treated and get involved with HIV/AIDS as it continues to impact the Capital Region and New York State. HIV is 100% preventable and many do not know the test only takes about 20 minutes to get a result and involves no needles or blood. For additional testing dates, times and locations, call 518-HIV TEST.
The AIDS Council is committed to helping communities of color with its Given the Chance (GTC) initiative. This program launched last year is designed to address HIV, hepatitis and substance abuse prevention needs in the Capital Region among communities of color. GTC tackles one of the hardest hit populations by offering a multi-pronged approach including transitional case management, HIV counseling, enhanced peer outreach, free testing and risk reduction education. The Council also works on changing the behaviors of urban adolescents to reduce their risk of contracting HIV and other STDs. In the Capital Region, over 50% of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases are in people of color. As the AIDS Council increases access to testing in communities with limited access to health care, this number could be even higher.
The AIDS Council of Northeastern New York is a not-for-profit human service agency whose mission is to reduce the risk, fear, and incidence of HIV infection, encourage the independence of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and promote understanding of their needs. In operation for over 24 years, the AIDS Council is the preeminent provider of AIDS services in a fifteen county region in Upstate New York with offices in Albany, Glens Falls, Hudson, Plattsburgh, Schenectady and Troy. For more information about the AIDS Council, please visit www.aidscouncil.org.