Posted on Sun, Jun 25, 2006
June 27th, 2006The African-American community is facing a state of emergency. This emergency stems from the epidemic we all know as HIV/AIDS. Since it was first reported in the U.S. in 1981, at least 1.6 million people have been affected with HIV/AIDS, while more than 500,000 have died. African-Americans, who only comprise 13 percent of the nation's population, account for more HIV/AIDS diagnoses, people estimated to be living with AIDS, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.
As we embarked upon the 25th anniversary of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community on June 5, 2006, NAACP President and CEO, Bruce S. Gordon joined with other leaders, activists, and celebrities from the African American community to announce the national Black AIDS mobilization and further solidify the Association's commitment to battling the disease. The NAACP advocates a multi-layered approach to eradicate the epidemic that is desolating the African-American community and is committed to eliminating the disparities that exist in the contraction of HIV, access to treatment, and quality of care for racial and ethnic minorities.
National HIV Testing Day, sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) is on June 27, 2006. This national campaign encourages individuals to receive testing and counseling through various planned community-based activities. The NAACP Health Department is encouraging local units to participate and partner with local organizations that will be providing HIV testing facilities on June 27th. In partnership with NAPWA, toolkits for participating in National HIV Testing Day were sent to all local units. This initiative is especially pertinent as 1 out of 4 HIV infected Americans do not know that they are infected with the virus.
Additionally, for the first time at the Annual convention, HIV testing, counseling and referral services will be available as a part of the NAACP Health Fair. Further, during our annual convention, the Health Department will be sponsoring a symposium and luncheon focused on HIV/AIDS in the African American community. The event is entitled "A State of Emergency; Our Emergency: The HIV/AIDS Crisis in the Black Community" and will be held at The Washington, DC Convention Center on Saturday July 15, 2006 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.. This event is free and open to the public. Please consider this a personal invitation to join us as we discuss ways to effectively mobilize to eradicate HIV/AIDS in our community.
The NAACP is committed to stopping HIV/AIDS from further decimating our communities. We are calling on everyone in our communities to join this fight by:
* Getting Informed. Knowledge is a powerful tool in the war against AIDS. To get more information visit,
* Getting Tested. One in 4 infected people do not know. Knowing your HIV status can save your life. Please take advantage of testing opportunities offered in your local community on National HIV Testing Day on June 27th and at the NAACP Health Fair at our Annual Convention July 15-20 in Washington, D.C.
* Getting Treated. AIDS is not the automatic death sentence it once was. There are treatments available if you know your HIV status. In addition, resources are available for those who cannot afford HIV treatments and support services.
* Getting Involved. Attending the NAACP sponsored Health Symposium and Luncheon can be your first step. The silence is killing us. Join the NAACP in our efforts to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Black America and save lives.
It is pertinent that we continue to highlight the importance of HIV prevention, both nationally as well as in our respective communities. Prevention is our present cure and one of the only weapons we have to effectively combat the virus. I hope that you will be able to participate and assist the NAACP in mitigating this epidemic that affects our lives as individuals, as a community, and as a nation.
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