Thursday, February 7 is the 13th annual National Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day. The day began as a grass roots effort with hundreds of organizations registering events or activities to raise the awareness of HIV and AIDS in their communities.
At some point in their lifetimes, 116 black men will be diagnosed with HIV infection, as will one in 32 black women.
According to data just released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a sharp and troubling increase of 22 percent in the incidence of new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men, ages 13 to 24 years old. Up to 80 percent of all new HIV infections among young people occur in youth of color.
In the Meantime, LA’s Black gay men ‘s wellness organization will spearhead a new campaign, X Homophobia, with a peaceful protest, free HIV testing and condom distribution adjacent to Leimert Park in South Los Angeles at 11 am. The campaign is intended to bring light to the devastating impact of homophobia on HIV/AIDS in the Black community.
The Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA) Health and Wellness Center in South Los Angeles has a youth prevention program, Mpowerment, that provides a safe place for teen gay, bisexual, or questioning men of any color to discuss issues that are important to them. The group’s outreach effort provides a monthly HIV testing event that includes music, games, food and free condoms.
Also in Los Angeles, The annual National Black HIV/STD Theatre Initiative, presented by Twinbiz, enlists playwrights and theater artists in the fight against HIV in cities across the nation. It encourages producers and others to write, read or produce at least one play a year in "Black churches, theatres, youth and senior centers, colleges, universities, prisons and living rooms across America until this preventable disease, where Blacks account for almost half the nation’s new infection rates, is eradicated."