Author: M. G.
Get educated, get tested and get involved! These are the keywords of the next US National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, occurring today, February 7.
Considering the statistics from 2010, African Americans (12-14% of US population) are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV and they accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among 13 year and older people. As expected, the majority (72%) of the new infections occurs among black men who have sex with men (MSM). It was estimated that 10,600 black MSM contracted the virus and more than one third of the infections happened within MSM aged between 13 and 24. What gives us hope is that between 2008 and 2010 the HIV infection rate in black women decreased by an incredible 21%.
Reading these statistics we can easily understand the primary importance of education, testing and involvement: HIV is a virus that can be halted just with the power of information and knowledge, DAA will never be tired of repeating this simple fact. For this reason we all need knowledge about what HIV is and, as a consequence, we all need more people to spread this knowledge. DAA already started working in this direction by calling in action black world wide famous musicians like Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Estelle, Akon and Keri Hilson. Involvement is of vital importance in a community where the risk of infection is higher than normal, the black community needs more people speaking out about HIV/AIDS awareness.
Women, who proved to be being smarter and better organized, were able to change an highly negative trend and they are the example to follow. Moreover the spreading of knowledge should start where it's easier to find young and sexually active people, like on schools and universities. This is why on nationalblackaidsday.org you will find plenty of information for students who want to take action to spread HIV/AIDS awareness in their community.
The most basic concept about the communication theory is that a message needs a sender and a receiver. Any kind of message needs someone to say something and someone else who listens to what you're saying. HIV prevention is a special kind of communication: it starts from a small part of the population and it aims at arriving at the rest of the population. This is not an easy job, nevertheless an effective action within an endangered community like the African-Americans would give everybody a good model to shape a better awareness project. When people aren't listening to you, you'll need to speak louder and to do so, you will surely need the help of others for your message to be heard. The more the better, this is the reason for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!