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Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Regarding National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, February 7, 2011

Posted Feb 04 2011 12:01am

On February 7, the nation will observe the 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the first reports of AIDS in the United States.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, African Americans have been deeply affected by HIV. Black men who have sex with men and black women are particularly at risk. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks make up just 14-percent of the total U.S. population yet represent almost half of those living with HIV and about half of those with AIDS who die each year.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy , which now guides all federal HIV/AIDS-related efforts and programs, recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV on African American communities. The strategy promotes HIV testing for at-risk groups and stresses the importance of getting people who are living with HIV into care. Prevention efforts should acknowledge the heavy burden of HIV among African Americans and target programs accordingly.

Federal departments and agencies with HIV/AIDS programs have developed detailed plans to implement the strategy, and are working together on cross-agency initiatives, like the 12 City Project, which supports comprehensive planning and cross-agency response in 12 communities hit hardest by HIV and AIDS. We are also working with our partners outside the government to support the strategy in communities around the nation. It will take all of us working together to put an end to HIV.

Please visit AIDS.gov to read the strategy and to learn how you can join with government, care providers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and others to help your community respond effectively to the HIV epidemic. Together, we can make the strategy real—and protect hard-hit populations, including African Americans, from the threat of HIV.

To learn more visit: www.AIDS.gov ; http://blackaidsday.org/ ; www.greaterthanaids.org

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