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Feb 01 2024

Shining a Light on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Breaking Barriers and Building Awareness


Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities

Every year on February 7th, communities across the country come together to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). This day serves as a critical reminder of the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on Black and African American communities in the U.S. Initiated in 1999, NBHAAD is designed to educate, mobilize, and inspire action towards addressing these disparities and advocate for equal healthcare. It is an opportunity to foster open conversations, reduce stigma, and encourage testing and prevention.

The Positive Resource Connection, in partnership with the Allen County Department of Health, welcomes the community into its agency (525 Oxford Street) on Wednesday, February 7th from 12-5pm to observe and incorporate this year’s NBHAAD theme: “Engage, Educate, Empower: Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities.”

Impact disparities

Recognizing the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black and African American communities is crucial in developing targeted strategies for prevention and support. According to the Indiana Community Health Improvement Initiative, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among Black and African American individuals is eight times higher than that of Whites. In 2018, Black individuals accounted for 45% of new HIV diagnoses in Indiana, emphasizing the urgent need for awareness and resources.

Access to healthcare

Racism and discrimination greatly affect healthcare within Black communities, particularly in the context of HIV. Structural inequities, stigma, and bias can hinder access to quality healthcare services like Positive Resource Connection’s HIV testing, prevention resources and connection to care. Additionally, discriminatory practices may contribute to mistrust within healthcare systems, discouraging individuals from seeking the care they need.

Staying Informed

Knowledge is a powerful tool for any individual when it comes to taking care of their health. The initial spread of fear and misinformation during the early years of the HIV epidemic during the 1980s and 90s still persist today across all racial communities. Understanding how HIV is transmitted, practicing safe behaviors, and recognizing risk factors empower individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Comprehensive education like our Outreach programs promotes the use of preventive measures, dispels myths, reduces stigma, and contributes significantly to preventing HIV transmission.

Infographic showing new diagnoses among the most-affected US populations, with Black/African American communities being affected more than any other racial or ethnic group.

Engage, Educate, Empower

Join our Outreach team and the Allen County Department of Health at Positive Resource Connection (525 Oxford Street) on Wednesday, February 7th from 12-5pm to commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The event will offer free HIV and Hepatitis C testing; the first 20 people tested will receive a gift card to an establishment of their choice (while supplies last). Visitors to our office on February 7th can also enjoy free pizza, snacks and drinks along with free health resources and information.

As we commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, let us come together to break systemic barriers, challenge stigmas, and build a future where race is not an obstacle to health and well-being. By spreading awareness, promoting testing, and supporting local initiatives, we can make a significant impact in ending new cases of HIV/AIDS in northeast Indiana.

Follow us on Facebook for more NBHAAD-related content, info on HIV/AIDS and future events. 

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Thanks to your support, we were able to reach THOUSANDS of individuals in 2023 – more specifically, we tested 1,740 people for HIV and Hepatitis C; our Street Outreach program interacted with 3,043 community members; and we conducted 179 outreach and educational programs. Want even more specifics?

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