REPORTS

Saving Ourselves

The 2008 edition of the Black AIDS Institute's State of AIDS in Black America series charts a remarkable level of new commitments from traditional Black organizations in the fight against AIDS. Blacks account for half of the estimated 1.2 million HIV-positive Americans and, given that stunning fact, our community clearly has much work to do. But just as clearly, traditional Black community leaders have begun to engage the fight.

The Black AIDS Institute surveyed 16 organizations that have joined the Black AIDS Mobilization, a campaign to craft a national community plan of action against HIV/AIDS. Each organization is developing its own individual plan for incorporating HIV/AIDS into its broader work. According to our survey, 12 of 16 organizations had completed their plans at year's end. Within the next five years, those organizations' collective programming commitments will:

  • Facilitate HIV counseling, testing and linkages to care for an estimated 250,000 Black people;
  • Disseminate HIV health education materials to a total of 77,450 individuals in the Black community;
  • Host 600 health education events focusing on HIV prevention, education, treatment and care, with an emphasis on challenging AIDS-related stigmas;
  • Produce 30 public service announcements and 30 short TV series focusing on HIV/AIDS in Black America.

Saving Ourselves also outlines the state of the crisis in Black communities around the country with a chart pack of key data and updates on the political and policymaking challenges in both prevention and treatment. In 2005, the most recent stats available, African Americans accounted for:

  • 49 percent of people newly infected with HIV
  • 60 percent of newly-infected women
  • 70 percent of newly-infected teens (in 2004)

As Saving Ourselves goes to press, Black America is bracing for new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is expected to substantially increase the number of people estimated to be living with HIV in our community.

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