Reports, Programming Launched Ahead of Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Wednesday marks the seventh annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is sponsored by the Community Capacity Building Coalition, a consortium of national minority-focused groups supported by CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. The CCBC includes Concerned Black Men of Philadelphia, the Health Watch Information and Promotion Service, the Jackson State University-Mississippi Urban Research Center, the National Black Alcoholism and Addictions Council and the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. The goal of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to motivate black people to "get tested" for HIV, "get educated" about how the virus is transmitted, "get involved" in community HIV/AIDS programs and "get treated" if they are HIV-positive (NBHAAD Web site, 2/2). Ahead of NBHAAD, CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released a study about HIV among blacks in Florida, and BET announced it will launch three HIV/AIDS-themes programs. Summaries of those efforts appear below.
- "HIV/AIDS Diagnoses Among Blacks -- Florida, 1999-2004," MMWR: According to an analysis from the Florida Department of Health released in the Feb. 2 issue of MMWR, new HIV cases among blacks residing in Florida has decreased by an average of more than 8% annually among men and more than 10% annually among women from 1999 to 2004, the AP/Gainesville Sun reports (Royse, AP/Gainesville Sun, 2/1). HIV incidence among blacks nationwide has decreased by an average of 5% annually since 2001, declining from 88.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2001 to 76.3 cases per 100,000 in 2004. However, blacks in 2004 were 8.4 times more likely than whites to be newly diagnosed with HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/7/06). In Florida, HIV incidence among blacks dropped from 224 cases per 100,000 people in 1999 to 134 cases per 100,000 in 2004, the study found. According to the AP/Sun, the study's findings indicate that the decline is not because of a reduction in HIV testing among blacks, which increased during the study period. State health researchers also found that new cases of gonorrhea declined among blacks statewide during the same period by more than 7% annually, which indicates that the drop in both might be associated with a decrease in risky sexual behavior. Some health officials and advocates said that although they welcomed the study's findings, HIV among blacks is still high and the disparity between whites and blacks still persists (AP/Gainesville Sun, 2/1). According to the study, HIV incidence among whites in Florida was recorded at 18.8 cases per 100,000 population in 1999 and 18.4 cases per 100,000 population in 2004 (MMWR, 2/1).
BET from Feb. 4 to Feb. 18 will launch three HIV/AIDS-themed programs aimed at addressing HIV/AIDS-related issues faced by black adolescents and young people -- including stigma, discrimination against men who have sex with men, HIV testing, substance abuse, and the impact of the disease on personal relationships and family. The broadcasts will begin at 12 p.m. ET/PT on Feb. 4 with "Reflections" -- the winning short film from the first Scenarios USA/Rap-It-Up National Story and Scriptwriting Contest -- with encore broadcasts on Feb. 7 at 11 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 12 p.m. BET also will air a 30-minute documentary on the making of the short film -- "Behind the Scenes: Reflections" -- on Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m., as well as "Odicie" -- the winner of the third annual Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition -- on Feb. 18 at 12:30 p.m. In addition, BET News on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. will air a 30-minute show that examines common misconceptions that many young people hold about the disease. BET since 1998 has partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation on Rap-It-Up, a public education campaign to inform young people about sexual health issues, including HIV/AIDS (BET/Kaiser Family Foundation release, 1/24).