The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community has reached epidemic proportions - accounting for 38% of the AIDS reported cases in the country, while comprising only 12% of the U.S. population. In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that AIDS was one of the top three leading causes of death of African Americans, ages 25-44, in the United States. In Georgia, African-Americans accounted for 61% of the total 21,477 AIDS cases from 1981 to December 1999. The Georgia Office of Minority Health also reports that almost 58% of AIDS cases in metro Atlanta were among African-Americans.
Several Atlanta HIV/AIDS organizations will join more than 150 communities in more than 60 cities across the United States to participate in the nation's fourth annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) on February 7, 2004. The day is meant to call attention to the AIDS problem and seek solutions to halt the epidemic. Local HIV/AIDS organizations and civic groups across the country aim to mobilize the Black community in the fight against AIDS by conducting educational and outreach programs in their communities (including free HIV testing and counseling services), town meetings, health fairs, church gatherings, and youth rallies.
National spokespersons include Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Nellie, Pastor Creflo Dollar, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings and others. Many of the local cities will include local artists and politicians in the events.
HEALTH FAIR AND COMMUNITY AWARENESS DAY AT THE MALL WEST END
Atlanta organizers, consisting of National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities in collaboration with AID Atlanta, Our Common Welfare, SisterLove, The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, the Georgia Office of Minority Health, Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, National Council of Negro Women, and the Interdenominational Theological Seminary, will host a health fair and community awareness day at The Mall West End on Saturday, February 7th from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The pubic is invited. Free information, free HIV testing and screenings will be offered.
"This event is an opportunity for local AIDS service and research organizations and the Atlanta community to collaborate collectively and utilize resources to promote effective HIV prevention strategies," says Connie F. Smith, director of social marketing for National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities. "This includes provision of on-site HIV testing and counseling services for participants and a forum for discussion and dialogue about how the community can help to prevent the spread of AIDS."
Several other activities are organizing to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention and mobilize African American communities to Get Tested for HIV, Get Educated about HIV/AIDS, and Get Involved in local efforts to ameliorate the pandemic that disproportionately impact communities of color nationwide.