News Release
February 1, 2013

Contact information

Feb. 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Minnesota

Free HIV testing and public awareness events planned

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) will be held in Minnesota on Feb. 7 to call attention to the devastating toll HIV/AIDS has had on Black communities across the country.

Nearly half of the total AIDS cases reported and almost half of the persons living with HIV in the U.S. are Black, even though they represent just 14 percent of the U.S population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that 2,480 cases or about one out of three persons living with HIV in the state are Black.

"In Minnesota, our African-American and African-born communities face the most severe burden of HIV infection rates compared to other population groups," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "Yet, these communities tend to have the fewest opportunities to access prevention programs and HIV testing. We need to ensure that these services are available and as culturally accessible as possible."

Local organizers hope to raise awareness about the current situation and will be offering free HIV testing opportunities. Health officials noted that new studies show that the earlier infected persons get treatment, the better their outcomes and the less likely they will spread the disease to others. But the key to getting early treatment is to know your HIV status through testing.

Beyond knowing one's HIV status, the most effective means of stopping the spread remain avoiding or delaying sexual activity, decreasing the number of sexual partners, always using latex condoms during sex, avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs, and getting into and staying in health care if infected.

Serving the most affected communities, the MDH's STD and HIV Section currently funds 21 community-based programs and the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health funds 6 additional programs for HIV prevention and/or testing work.

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 2011 MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance 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.

Free downloadable campaign materials specific for African-American communities are available at: http://www.greaterthan.org and http://hivtest.org/stronger/.

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 email 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.

Under the theme of, "I Am My Brother's/Sister's Keeper – Fight HIV/AIDS," NBHAAD is a nationwide effort sponsored by the Strategic Leadership Council designed to encourage Blacks across the U.S. to get educated, get tested, get involved and get treated around HIV/AIDS: http://www.nationalblackaidsday.org/.

-MDH-

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.

    Community Events – Free and Open to the Public

    MAN Clinic STD/HIV Testing Event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
    3 - 5 p.m., every Thursday, February 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2013, walk-in STD and HIV testing will be available for males ages 15 to 50 years at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, 1313 Penn Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411.No appointment and no insurance necessary.

    Free Walk-in HIV Testing Event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7
    Event sponsored by Bridge Builders for Life, Broadway Family Medicine, Fremont Clinic, Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota Department of Health, Pillsbury House, Sabathani Community Center and Turning Point. Free HIV testing will be available for walk-ins on Thursday, Feb. 7 at these locations:

      • Fremont Clinic, 3300 Fremont Ave. N., Minneapolis (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
      • Pillsbury House, 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
      • Sabathani Community Center, 310 East 38th St., Minneapolis (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
      • Turning Point, 1500 Golden Valley Rd., Minneapolis (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.)

For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993