African World AIDS Day (AWAD)
“United in the Fight Against AIDS”
Each day in Africa, UNAIDS estimated that up to 5,200 are infected and 4,100 will die from HIV/AIDS. Africa represented only 10 percent of the world’s population but has more than half of all of the HIV infections worldwide.
Many African residents in Minnesota believe that AIDS is only in Africa and they don't have to worry about it anymore. This is not true. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, HIV continues to be problem among African-born persons in Minnesota, who made up 11 percent of new HIV diagnoses during 2008, but represented less than 1 percent of the general population. In 1996, African-born persons only represented 4 percent of the newly diagnosed cases. This group is particularly vulnerable because they have not been exposed to 25 years of HIV education and prevention messages that the general U.S. population has.
African residents representing several African nations were enjoined in a unified annual commemoration to call attention to the impact HIV and AIDS has had on Africans here and in their respective countries.
The purposes of these events are to:
- Increase HIV/AIDS awareness;
- Reduce stigma and discrimination;
- Provide prevention education and HIV testing; and,
- Connect those already infected to existing care services.