Baltimore, MD (February 4, 2011) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration (IDEHA) will observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) on February 7.
“Early diagnosis, testing and counseling are essential to appropriate care and treatment for HIV/AIDS,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “By educating ourselves and our neighbors, together, we can erase the stigma and encourage prevention among our most vulnerable Marylanders.”
DHMH joins national African-American organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health agencies’ efforts to address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic in African-American communities throughout the nation.
“With HIV, knowledge is power.” said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D . “Getting tested and treated can save your life.”
DHMH is committed to reaching the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Goal of reducing HIV-related disparities. Several local health departments and community-based organizations throughout the State are engaged in activities to raise awareness about HIV in the African-American community.
“Approximately 78% of Maryland’s HIV/AIDS cases are among African-Americans,” said Heather Hauck, Director of IDEHA. "Last year, DHMH provided HIV testing, partner services and other interventions to more than 75,000 African-Americans to address the epidemic, but we have more to do to achieve a Maryland with no new HIV infections."
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has a devastating impact on the African-American community. In Maryland, as of the end of 2009, 1-in-54 African-American men and 1-in-97 African-American females were living with HIV/AIDS. The CDC estimates that nationally 1-in-16 African-American men and 1-in-30 African-American women will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.
For information about HIV education, testing, treatment and support services, please call 410-767-5132 or visit http://eh.dhmh.md.gov/ideah/ or visit NBHAAD for events near you: www.BlackAIDSDay.org.