DHMH TO RECOGNIZE NATIONAL BLACK HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY FEBRUARY 7TH

Baltimore, MD (February 6, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African American organizations, and local public health agencies in observing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) tomorrow, February 7. NBHAAD is a national community mobilization initiative to encourage African Americans to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated for HIV/AIDS. The 2014 NBHAAD theme is “I Am My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper. Fight HIV/AIDS!” 

The CDC reports more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection. The 2011 national data listed Maryland as fourth among U.S. states and territories in estimated adult/adolescent HIV diagnosis rates (36.4 per 100,000). In Maryland, 28,197 people were diagnosed and living with HIV or AIDS at the end of December 2011 as reported through December 31, 2012.

“HIV education and testing are key, and adherence to HIV medications helps to prevent the spread of HIV to others, ” said Dr. Laura Herrera, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services.

In 2011, the largest groups of individuals living with HIV in Maryland were:
  • African American heterosexual females (18.8%);
  • African American men who have sex with men (18.4%); and
  • African American male injection drug users (17.3%).
In Maryland, there were 1,311 newly diagnosed adult/adolescent HIV cases at the end of 2011. The data reveal that African American men who have sex with men accounted for the greatest proportion of new HIV diagnoses (34.1%), followed by African American heterosexual females (16.6%), and African American heterosexual males (13.2%).

“African Americans have the information, skills and resources to change the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS in their community,” said Deborah McGruder, DHMH Infectious Disease Bureau Director, “We remind everyone to get tested and to avoid risk behaviors for HIV which include: failure to use condoms, being too intoxicated by alcohol and drugs to make wise decisions, having multiple sex partners, sharing HIV infected IV drug needles, and engaging in sex for drugs or money.”

As a part of this year’s NBHAAD educational outreach, the DHMH Infectious Disease Bureau (IDB), will join Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR), Inc. to host a NBHAAD Marathon Testing Event from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. at 901 N. Milton Avenue, Baltimore, 21205, 3rd Floor Community Room. Later in the day, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the office will partner with the Baltimore City Health Department and Total Health Care to provide HIV and Syphilis testing at Mondawmin Mall, 2401 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, 21215. The program will also include guest speakers, educational exhibits, entertainment, and giveaways. In addition, a targeted NBHAAD electronic newsletter was developed and will be available here under Hot Topics later today.
  • For a list of NBHAAD activities throughout the State, visit http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/infectious_disease.aspx and look under Hot Topics.
  • To find additional information about HIV prevention, testing, treatment and support, go to http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDPCS/CHP/SitePages/Home.aspx
  • To access the federal government website for NBHAAD go to www.aids.gov.
  • To find an HIV testing location near you visit www.hivtest.org.
  • To secure free educational materials for Maryland-based agencies call the Materials Distribution Center at 410-799-1940 or call the Infectious Disease Bureau at 1-800-358-9001.
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