News Release
February 1, 2011
Contact information

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to be observed Feb. 7

Free HIV testing and public awareness events scheduled in Minnesota


Nearly 1 of every 16 African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV infection some time in their lives, as will 1 in 30 African-American women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost half of the one million Americans currently living with HIV are African-American.

The 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) will be held Feb. 7 to call attention to the devastating toll HIV/AIDS has had on African-American communities.

"In Minnesota, our African-American and African-born communities face some of the highest HIV infection rates compared to other population groups," said Peter Carr, manager of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Minnesota's African-American and African-born populations continued to have higher rates of infection compared to whites in 2009. Statewide rates for African-Americans were about 11 times greater than whites (50.1 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population) and rates for African-born communities were 19 to 26 times greater than whites (82 – 116.5 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population). Through 2009, there are 2,261
African-American and African-born persons living with HIV in the state.

"African-Americans and African-born communities face a number of obstacles that contribute to the higher HIV infection rates," said Carr. "Some of the obstacles include unknown HIV status, cultural stigma, and socioeconomic factors such as lower income levels that can lead to limited access to quality health care and HIV prevention education and testing."

With the national theme of, "It takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS," national and local organizers hope to unite African-American and African-born communities for a call to action to get tested, get educated, get treated and get involved within their communities and neighborhoods to halt the spread of this disease.

"Knowing your HIV status, prevention education, avoiding or delaying sexual activity, decreasing the number of sexual partners and safer sex practices remain the most effective means of stopping the spread," said Carr. "HIV infection is preventable and as part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day free HIV educational and testing opportunities will be offered to help people learn how to stay safe."

The STD and HIV Section at MDH currently funds 31 community-based programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in adults and young people of all races who are at risk of acquiring HIV.

The MDH website provides information and a calendar of local activities for NBHAAD at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/worldaidsday/nbhaad/index.html.
The MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report-2009 report, which includes data specific for the African-American and African-born communities, can be found on the MDH website at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/hivstatistics.html.

Information about HIV is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), or by e-mail at: mapaidsline@mnaidsproject.org. MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.

Free downloadable campaign materials specific for African-American communities are available at: http://www.greaterthan.org. For more information about the NBHAAD 2011 observance, visit http://www.blackaidsday.org/ or call 1-404-454-5469.

-MDH-

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Governor's Proclamation
In a proclamation marking this year's observance, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton calls for all Minnesotans to strongly support NBHAAD and to get involved with initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American and African-born communities. To see a copy of the proclamation, visit the MDH website at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/worldaidsday/nbhaad/index.html.

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Community Events – Free and Open to the Public

Free Confidential HIV Testing, Health Checks, Blood Pressure Screening, and Body Mass Index (BMI) Determination Event
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Thursday, February 7 – 10, 2011, at Crown Medical Clinic, 1925 1st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Event sponsored by Crown Medical Clinic. Walk-ins welcome but appointments preferred by calling 612-871-4354.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event
10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday, February 7, 2011 at Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411. Event sponsored by Turning Point, Inc., Minneapolis Urban League, The City, Inc., and the Minnesota Department of Health. A catered lunch will be served.


For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993

Peter Carr
STD and HIV Section
651-201-4007