Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: February 6, 2013
Feb. 7, 2013 marks the thirteenth annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) joins the national call for awareness and action and encourages African Americans in Delaware to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated for HIV/AIDS if already infected.
While African Americans represented approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the group accounts for 44 percent of estimated new HIV infections in the United States and that HIV/AIDS is one of the 10 leading causes of death in African Americans At the end of 2012, there were 2,310 African Americans known to be living with HIV/AIDS in Delaware. While only 20 percent of the state's population is African-American, 61.1 percent of all Delawareans living with HIV/AIDS are African-American. The rate of new infections is increasing significantly among young black men who have sex with men.
"Blacks are affected by HIV more than any other ethnic or racial group - and at all stages of the disease, from initial infection to death from HIV/AIDS", said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Get tested for HIV. If you need HIV treatment, get treated. And, learn how to and make safe choices to prevent infection."
Feb. 7 of every year is set aside as the black HIV awareness day in the hope that African Americans will mark this as their day to get tested for HIV. It is also an opportunity to connect impacted communities and individuals with the HIV prevention work going on in their local areas and to link those already infected with HIV with treatment and care services.
Most people get infected with HIV through unprotected sex. Anyone who is sexually active, should use condoms or call the numbers below to get counseling about minimizing the risk if not using condoms. Anyone using needles to inject drugs should get into a treatment program. Call the numbers below for referrals to services to help you stay healthy.
Observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day this year by getting an HIV test. To find the nearest, free HIV testing site, visit www.hivtest.organd type in your zip code, or call 1-800-CDC-Info (1-800-232-4636). For more information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2013, visit: www.blackaidsday.org.
If you have HIV and are not getting treatment, call the Delaware HIV Consortium at 302-654-5471.
Get educated. Get tested. Get involved. Get treated. It is that simple. It is that important.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.