February 7th, 2009 marks the ninth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). This is a national community mobilization effort designed to encourage African Americans across the United States and Territorial areas to Get Educated, Get Tested, Get Treated, and Get Involved with HIV/AIDS. This year's theme is "Black Life is Worth Saving."
Of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, HIV and AIDS have hit African Americans the hardest. In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its long-awaited study re-examining the size and depth of the U.S. epidemic. Using new technology that allows researchers to learn more detail about individual HIV infections, the CDC discovered, among other things:
• The U.S. epidemic is at least 40 percent larger than previously believed and growing by between 55,000 and 58,000 infections a year;
• The U.S. has never logged fewer than 50,000 new infections a year, contrary to prior belief that we leveled out at 40,000 new infections a year in the mid-1990s;
• Black Americans represented 45 percent of people newly infected in 2006, despite being just 13 percent of the population;
• Men who have sex with men accounted for 53 percent of all new infections in 2006, and young Black men were particularly hard hit.
• In 2006, Black gay and bisexual men between the ages of 13 and 29 accounted for more new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men than any other race or age group. And more than half, or 52 percent, of all Black gay and bi men infected that year were under 30 years old.
Deaths. The racial disparity in AIDS deaths continued in data released last year:
• In 2006, the latest year for which data is available, 7,426 Black Americans died from AIDS. That number represents a meaningful improvement over the previous year—a decline of 1,253 deaths.
• But Blacks continue to represent a far outsized proportion of deaths each year. In 2006, Blacks accounted for just over half of all AIDS deaths.
The 2009 State of AIDS in Black America report includes a chart pack—“The Black Epidemic: By the Numbers,” which details key data about the black epidemic.
Resources. The federal commitment to all areas of AIDS work—prevention, treatment and research—has all but disappeared.
• The CDC’s annual HIV-prevention budget has never topped $800 million—a fraction of what the U.S. spends on the Iraq war in a week;
• The prevention budget has been cut by 20 percent in the past five years, in real dollar terms;
• The CDC spent just under $369 million on Black-specific prevention and research in fiscal year 2008, or 49 percent of the overall budget.
• Between 2004 and 2008, the discretionary domestic AIDS budget remained virtually flat, while global spending increased by more than 20 percent annually.
For more information, log onto http://www.blackaids.org/