December 1st marks World Aids Day. The theme this year is “How are you facing AIDS?” In the U.S., there is an estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV. However, 1 out of 5 don’t know it. When you begin to look at people of color, the numbers are alarming.
The CDC reports that African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV and AIDS in the nation.
- While blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, they account for almost half (46%) of people living with HIV in the US, as well as nearly half (45%) of new infections each year. HIV infections among blacks overall have been roughly stable since the early 1990s.
- At some point in their life, approximately one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will one in 30 black women.
- The rate of new HIV infections for black men is about six times as high as that of white men, nearly three times that of Hispanic/Latino men, and more than twice that of black women.
- The HIV incidence rate for black women is nearly 15 times as high as that of white women, and nearly four times that of Hispanic/Latino women.
Hispanics/Latinos are also disproportionately impacted.
- Hispanics/Latinos represent 15% of the population but account for an estimated 17% of people living with HIV and 17% of new infections. HIV infections among Hispanics/Latinos overall have been roughly stable since the early 1990s.
- The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men is more than double that of white men and the rate among Hispanic/Latino women is nearly four times that of white women.
So what can you do? FACE IT!
First off, GET TESTED. DC has among the highest rate of infection of HIV, and has been on the forefront of addressing the issue. The best thing you can do for your partner is to know you status. Today, several places will be providing free testing.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic will be sponsoring free HIV testing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m at the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center (1701 14th St., NW), and from 9:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Max Robinson Center (2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE).
The Women’s Collective (1333 Rhode Island Ave., NE) will be hosting free testing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Student Union Building I at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus will be offering free testing from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. tomorrow, and from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday. Ten panels from the AIDS Quilt will also be on view.
The Washington Hospital Center will be offering free HIV testing in front of the Washington Cancer Institute (110 Irving St., NW) today from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and tomorrow from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
For other sites offering testing year round, click here.
Second, if you don’t practice abstinence, practice SAFE SEX. The Fenty Administration recently launched the “Rubber Revolution DC,” a new campaign to promote condom use. The Pope even tolerates condom use (at least in certain circumstances).
Lastly, GET INVOLVED.
Wednesday, December 1st
International Conference on Stigma- The Attitude that spreads HIV. Howard University Georgia Avenue, NW Cramton Auditorium. 8:30am-5:00 pm. Please join Miss America, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, doctors, nurses and other health care workers, elected officials, HIV/AIDS workers and activists and others from across the globe as they work together to seek strategies to eliminate the stigma associated with HIV . For more information, click here.
Identifying HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Needs of Women of Color. Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room 45 Independence Avenue, SW 10:00 am-11:00 am. Join the National Minority AIDS Council, Positive Women’s Network and National Women’s AIDS Collective as they lead the discussion of gender specific needs of women of color in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. This event is being held in cooperation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). For more information, click here.
Cocktails for a Cure at the Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar 2121 P st. NW 6:00 pm-8:30 pm. Support the Whitman-Walker Clinic while having a mid-week happy hour. The evening will be hosted by Paul Wharton, co-star of the Real Houswives of DC. Hors d’oeuvres, $5 signature drinks, and a silent auction will highlight the evening. Admission is $10. For more information, click here.
Deten El SIDA. Maten La Promisa 2831 15th St. NW 5:00 pm. A ceremony and march to remember those who were lost to AIDS. This event is sponsored by La Clinca del Pueblo and Mpoderate!
“I Am” Prayer and Candlelight Vigil 2200 Rhode Island Avenue, NE 6:30p.m. – 8:00 p.m. In addition to prayers, hot beverages, and light fare, all will be ministered to through poems, the Unity Fellowship Drum Ministry, and other expressions of hope and love in memory of the millions who have died of AIDS. Dress warmly.
Thursday, December 2nd
The Golden Ticket Party for Prevention 1301 K st. NW 5:00 pm. Metro TeenAIDS will bring young people from all over DC together to take a stand against AIDS and proclaim their desire to create an AIDS-free generation. DJ Quicksilva from WKYS will provide music, youth from SMYAL, Women’s Collective and MTA will perform, ‘The Other Side of Me’ film produced by MTA and City at Peace will be premiered. Marteniz Brown from the Greater Than AIDS campaign will speak and Axiom, the hip hop poetry duo, will perform as well. You could also win ‘golden’ tickets to see Usher and Trey Songz in concert later this month. For more information, click here.
A night of queer poetry and spoken word, focusing on HIV/AIDS issues. Everyone is welcome!
Second Annual World AIDS Day Concert Roadside Cafe 2101 Benning Road NE 8 pm-10 pm. Join Al Sura Inc. as they raise money to benefit Damien Ministries and Inner Light Ministries. Entertainment featuring Tamika Jones, Rayshunn Lamar, Septimus TheGreat, and Dymez Dennis. Tickets are $20 in advance and at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here
Peace and Blessings!