National Black HIV/AIDS Day
African Americans account for a higher percentage of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States. This February 7, national organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aiming to raise awareness about the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in the African American community to reduce the number of new diagnoses among Blacks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, Blacks accounted for nearly 42 percent of the new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS in the country. This was in spite of the fact that Black Americans make up just 15 percent of the Black population in the United States.
Between 2014 and 2018, the number of new diagnoses among African Americans dropped by 4 percent. Although progress has been made in increasing awareness of the disease in this community and reducing diagnoses, more needs to be done. Reaching young African Americans is critical to reducing the incidence of HIV/ AIDS in these communities. Between 2014 and 2018, while there was a drop in new diagnoses, there was an increase of 7 percent in new diagnoses in the 25- to- 35 age category.
Some factors that may impact a timely diagnosis include lack of access to timely testing or diagnostic services as well lack of trust in medical services. The stigma that, unfortunately, continues to be associated with the disease may also prevent younger people from being tested on time.
Increased testing will play a key role in helping reduce the incidence of the disease in at- risk populations. Once a diagnosis is made, the person can immediately be placed on a course of medications to keep viral loads under control. Keeping the disease under control ensures that the viral loads remain low enough to reduce the risk of transmission to others.