Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022

Saturday, August 20 marks Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (SHAAD) 2022. The region accounts for 53% of new HIV cases and 47% of all deaths among people living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Specifically, an estimated 18,500 of the 34,800 new HIV diagnoses in 2019 were in the South.

“There is an HIV/AIDS crisis in the South,” says the Southern AIDS Coalition, which launched the awareness day in 2019. “SHAAD is the day we rewrite our narrative! SHAAD gives us all an opportunity to join a national movement to raise awareness, erase HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, and advocate for new and needed resources and solutions to stem the tide of HIV /AIDS in the South.

Event listings and links to resources are available on the Awareness Day website., which creates interactive graphs and maps from HIV data, also offers insight into the disproportionate impact of HIV in the region. “The South experiences a higher burden of HIV than other parts of the country, especially among communities of color,” AIDSVu says in Deeper Look: HIV in the South. “Black Southern Americans accounted for half of all new HIV diagnoses in the region in 2020, despite making up just 19% of the Southern population. The South also had only 21% of PrEP users in 2021.”

Preparation [pre-exposure prophylaxis] refers to daily pills and long-term injectables that can prevent a person from getting HIV. AIDSVu recently updated its interactive PrEP maps to include race and ethnicity data.

AIDSVu also published an interview with Darnell Barrington, MPH, director of health department initiatives for the Southern AIDS Coalition. He argues that current narratives around HIV in the South are outdated. “I really believe that the solution to ending the epidemic nationwide will be in the South,” he says. “The South is such a cradle of innovation, where so many answers exist but people aren’t always invited to the table. This is the new narrative: the South is fully capable of meeting the needs of people living with HIV or at increased risk of contracting HIV, but it needs opportunities for people’s voices to be heard and advocacy opportunities so that there are adequate resources and funding. ”

To coincide with Awareness Day and address the epidemic among Black South Americans, HIV drugmaker Gilead Sciences announced it was funding a $4.5 million collaboration with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute. from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education at Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy.

To learn more about HIV in the US South, click #South. You’ll find articles on racial disparities in monkeypox cases and the use of PrEP, as well as information on Gilead’s COMPASS initiative to fund HIV groups in the South and on the visit of Lil Nas X in Southern organizations fighting HIV.

Additional data can be found in “HIV in the US Deep South: Trends From 2008–2019”, a 24-page report produced by the Southern AIDS Coalition, Duke University’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, and Duke Global Health Institute.

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