It’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Here are some major ways HIV/AIDS is affecting Philly, plus a list of today’s events and free testing sites.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is February 7th.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is on February 7th.

February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a day dedicated to coalition-building and increasing information surrounding HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in the black community. Spurred into existence by the startling statistic that HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among black men ages 25 to 44, the day has been growing across the country since 1999.

Here are some important facts to consider about how HIV/AIDS affects Philly:

Black Philadelphians are contracting HIV at higher rates than any other racial group.

The most recent numbers from the Philadelphia public health department show that 65 percent of people living with diagnosed HIV in 2013 were black, and that 70 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV between 2010 and 2014 were black.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the highest targets for HIV infection.

Locally, male-to-male sexual contact makes up 48.8 percent of HIV transmission in the city for men (in comparison, heterosexual contact rates are 23.3 percent for men and 26.2 percent for women). Nationally, the CDC reports that 1 out of 2 black MSM will be infected with HIV in their lifetime.

There are stark racial contrasts in HIV transmission rates.

In Philly, the rate of black males living with an HIV diagnosis is 2.9 times that of white males, while the rate of black females living with an HIV diagnosis is 6.6 times that of white females. Factors such poverty, unemployment, and poor access to proper health care/education plays a significant role in this racial disparity.

Total newly HIV diagnosed numbers are dropping in the city.

Overall, the last recorded total of newly HIV diagnosed individuals decreased in Philly from 733 cases in 2010 to a total of 607 cases in 2014. Statewide, there were 1,519 cases in 2010 compared with 1,322 cases in 2014.

HIV testing is still one of the most important factors in prevention.

According to the Black AIDS Institute, an estimated 14 percent of black Americans living with HIV do not know they are infected. HIV testing, although affordable and simple, is still underutilized across all communities. Getting tested is the first major step toward increasing prevention and seeking immediate life-saving treatment.

Free HIV testing sites in Philly:

Philadelphia FIGHT
1233 Locust Street

Mazzoni Center
1201 Locust Street

Prevention Point Philadelphia
166 West Lehigh Avenue

Congreso de Latinos Unidos HIV/AIDS Program
3439 North Hutchinson Street

Kensington Hospital Early Intervention Services
136 West Diamond Street

One Day At A Time
2532 North Broad Street

Sobriety Through Out Patient Incorporated
2534-36 North Broad Street, Suite 200

Philadelphia Department of Public Health Philadelphia Health Care Center 6
321 West Girard Avenue

Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues (BEBASHI)
1217 Spring Garden Street, 1st Floor

Other Events:

A Call To Action: LGBTQ Youth Town Hall Meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Attic Youth Center, 255 South 16th Street.