Nat'l Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7; Free testing available
LAS VEGAS — Sunday, Feb. 7 marks the 15th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to encourage African-Americans to learn their HIV status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that African-Americans accounted for approximately 44 percent of new HIV infections among adults and adolescents. The Southern Nevada Health District, with its partners the HIV Awareness Rapid Testing Team (HARTT), and the HIV/AIDS Awareness Consortium Group, is offering free, rapid HIV testing 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada, 401 S. Maryland Parkway, and the William Pearson Community Center, 1625 W. Carey, North Las Vegas. For additional testing information and clinics, visit Health District Sexual Health Clinic HIV Testing or call (702) 759-0702.
According to the CDC, one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in his lifetime, as will one in 32 black women. The CDC notes a decrease in HIV infections among black women although the rate of new HIV infections for black women remains higher than the rates for white and Hispanic women. African–Americans are the racial/ethnic group most impacted by HIV/AIDS in the United States. Most African-American women who are infected with HIV contract the virus through heterosexual contact. Young black men who are gay or bisexual are at the highest risk of infection.
According to the CDC:
In 2010, black men accounted for 70 percent of new HIV infections among African-Americans. African American men were seven times more likely to become infected with HIV than white men and twice as likely as Hispanic men.
In 2010, African-American gay/bisexual and other men who have sex with men accounted for 72 percent of new HIV infections among all African Americans; more new HIV infections occurred in young gay/bisexual African American men between the ages of 13 and 24 than any other subgroup of gay/bisexual men.
In 2010, most new HIV infections among African-American women were attributed to heterosexual contact.
Early diagnosis is critical for people who are HIV positive so they can benefit from treatment. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they have developed AIDS, which can occur 10 years after infection. Additional recommendations from the CDC include annual testing for individuals who engage in high-risk sexual behavior or use intravenous drugs. Pregnant women should be tested during the early months of their pregnancy to help eliminate transmission of HIV to their infants.
The Sexual Health Clinic is located at 280 S. Decatur Blvd. Services include confidential testing, counseling, case management and referrals. The Health District offers several HIV test options, some with same-day results. In addition, testing is available each week:
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m./1:30 – 5 p.m.
Free HIV/syphilis screenings Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada
401 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas