February 7 is National Black HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

Every year, February 7 marks the observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Building on last year’s momentum, the national theme for 2020 is We Are In It, Together. The Florida Department of Health is calling on all Floridians to unite and support people living with HIV, and to join us in our efforts to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in Black communities.

Our state bears a heavy burden from the HIV epidemic, and the Department is committed to connecting people to the resources they need to live long, healthy lives.

In 2018, there were 119,661 people living with HIV in Florida. Of the 4,906 Floridians who were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2018, 39% were black. The highest proportion of black people newly diagnosed with HIV was between the ages of 20 and 29.

In 2018, among adults 13 and older, 1 in 39 black men and 1 in 65 black women in Florida were living with HIV (compared to 1 in 166 white men and 1 in 1,040 white women). “As we continue to work to end new HIV infections in Florida, we must continue to address stigma, discrimination, cultural issues, and other critical factors that create barriers in our communities,” said Laura Reeves, administrator of the department’s HIV/AIDS section. “We also need to address access to PrEP – a proven prevention tool – among all vulnerable populations, but especially among black populations.”

End the epidemic

In February 2019, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. The resulting initiative, titled Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, or EHE for short, is ongoing. EHE’s goal is to reduce new HIV infections by 75% over the next five years and by 90% by 2030.

Have it tested

We have the power to prevent and treat HIV. Early diagnosis leads to more effective treatment, so getting tested and knowing your status is crucial. Florida is a national leader in HIV testing and there are many ways to get tested. All County Department sites offer HIV testing, or you can test yourself in the privacy of your own home. Visit KnowYourHIVStatus.com to learn more about testing options in your area or to order a free home testing kit sent directly to the address of your choice (while supplies last). You can also call the Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-FLA-AIDS, 1-800-545-SIDA (in Spanish) or 1-800-AIDS-101 (in Creole) for more information.

You Know Your HIV Status—Now What?

For people living with HIV, it is crucial that treatment begins as early as possible – immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) usually leads to a long and healthier life. ART also reduces the amount of HIV in the body, making it harder for the virus to pass on to others.

People who have not been diagnosed with HIV should ask their health care provider for a risk-needs assessment to determine what type of HIV prevention would work best: taking PrEP, using condoms, or retesting. regularly.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Events Near You

The Department partners with organizations across the state to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Check out our online events calendar to find out what’s happening in your area.

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