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FEBRUARY 8, 2013
February 7, 2013, Marked 13th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Yesterday, February 7, 2013, marked the 13th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, one of eleven federally recognized HIV/AIDS awareness days in the United States. This year’s theme is “I am My Brother/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS,” and the message is clear: all African Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, economic class, or educational level, can be an important part of the solution to the HIV epidemic in African American communities. The statistics are stark: according to the annual report released by the Black AIDS Institute, Black America represents 44% of all new HIV infections, despite the fact that it accounts for less than 14% of the US population. To understand more about the first-hand impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black community, we invite you to read the blogs below, which have been written by those working on the ground every single day.

Aware Enough

By Diedra J. Levi, CEO, Living Affected Corporation

As a Black person, I can tell you that an awareness day is rhetorical because we are aware. We simply haven’t had enough. We haven’t had enough of dying when we don’t have to. We haven’t had enough funerals. We haven’t had enough of seeing someone darken and waste away. We are aware. We are aware that Black gay men are more at risk. We are aware that Black gay men are more likely to be infected. We are aware that Black gay men are more likely to not get the proper treatment and die from this disease. We are aware that Black women are 20 times more likely to become infected with HIV than White women. We simply haven’t had enough.

I am aware that the right person hasn’t been infected and stood up to say that I have HIV. I am aware that the conspiracy theories are still rampant in my community and most think that Magic Johnson was able to afford a cure. I am aware that there is no cure. I am aware and can call names of people who eat a nutritious diet and ingest special herbal treatments to keep the effects of HIV at bay. I’m aware that that’s not enough. I’m aware that the treatment now can bring you back from the brink of death once you have had enough. But we haven’t had enough.

To read Diedra’s entire blog about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, click here.

Caressa Cameron-Jackson Speaks on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Panel Discussion at Hampton University

By Natasha Abrams, Senior Sports Management Major at Hampton University

Journalist, Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

On Thursday February 7, 2013, the Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (DST), Inc., helped support the fight against HIV/AIDS during a panel discussion featuring Miss America 2010, Mrs. Caressa Cameron-Jackson. Mrs. Cameron-Jackson shared her story of how HIV/AIDS had such a large impact on her life at such a young age.

When she was just a little girl, her uncle was diagnosed with HIV. “He was an African American gay man,” Caressa said. “He eventually stopped taking his medicine and died”. Her uncle’s death encouraged her to want to educate the world about HIV/AIDS because her uncle’s death could have been prevented if others had taken the time to increase their knowledge of the infection. “He [Caressa’s uncle] chose to stop taking his medicine because of the stigma in my family. No one wanted to talk about the fact that my uncle was gay with AIDS nor did they want to do anything to help. He already felt defeated before he could start his fight”.

To read more about National Black HIV/AIDS Day at Hampton University, click here. 

Congresswoman Lee and 43 Original Cosponsors Introduce H.RES.59, "Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day"

On February 6, 2013, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.RES.59, “Supporting the goals and ideals of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day,” which was cosponsored by 43 other Members of Congress. The bill resolved that the House of Representatives take actions that include: supporting the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, supporting effective and comprehensive HIV prevention education programs and connecting those in need to clinically and culturally appropriate care and treatment. While speaking on the House floor, Congresswoman Lee made the following statement regarding HIV and the upcoming sequester:

“Despite the progress we’ve made in recent years, this Congress has already made unconscionable budget cuts to critical programs that many families and communities rely on. A new analysis by the Foundation for AIDS Research and the National Minority AIDS Council shows that if budget sequestration were to take effect, communities of color would be disproportionately impacted, including more than 6,500 individuals who [would] immediately lose access to HIV treatment. We must reject these cuts and expand effective prevention, care and treatment programs so that we can once and for all stamp HIV and AIDS off the face of the Earth.”

Both Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) issued statements acknowledging National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, recognizing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on the African-American community and calling for continued legislative support for programs that assist people living with HIV/AIDS.

The full text of the bill is available by clicking here.

To see Congresswoman Lee’s speech given on February 6, 2013, click here.


AIDSWatch is 17 Days Away! Register TODAY!

AIDSWatch 2013 is just around the corner, but there’s still time to register! Join the National Association of People with AIDS, the Treatment Access Expansion Project, AIDS United and the 150+ people who have already registered! On February 25-26, 2013, in Washington, D.C., YOU can make your voice heard with your Members of Congress about HIV and health-related policy! For more information about AIDSWatch and how to register, please click here.

Sign on to an Open Letter to President Obama and All Members of Congress to Pass Immigration Reform that Ensures Access to Economic Supports and Quality Health Care

The National Immigration Law Center has issued an open letter to President Obama and Members of Congress calling for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that ensures access to economic supports, affordable and quality health care and nutrition assistance for aspiring Americans. Your organization can view the entire letter and sign on by clicking here! The deadline to sign on is 5PM PST on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. If you have any questions, you can contact Ellen Sittenfeld Battistelli (battistelli@nilc.org) or Jenny Rejeske ( rejeske@nilc.org).

Sign on to Support Health Funding!

Each year, the Coalition for Health Funding leads the health community in securing increased funding for health agencies and programs, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration and the Indian Health Service, among others. The coalition works collaboratively to secure a strong discretionary health funding allocation or “Function 550” in the budget resolution, which then increases the funds for agency appropriations, which directly impacts specific federal funding priorities. For FY 2014, the Health Summit convened earlier this year recommends $65 billion for Function 550, a $7 billion increase over the Congressional Budget Office’s estimated FY 2013 budget authority level of $58 billion.

150 organizations have signed the letter to support health funding; your organization can sign the letter by emailing Juliet Haydar at crdfellow@dc-crd.com by February 13, 2013. In responding, please provide your organization’s full name as you would like it to appear on the letter, as well as your own contact information.

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