I am in San Francisco, which a generation ago was ground zero for HIV/AIDS. Back then, gay white men were the face of AIDS. Now, it’s people of color.
Tonight in New York City, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) will hold its annual benefit gala. NBLCA will bring together religious, healthcare, political and community leaders to raise awareness of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic within African-American communities.
Some grim statistics:
- Black Americans are seven times more likely than white Americans to become newly infected with HIV.
- AIDS remains the leading cause of death among black women between 25-34 years and the second leading cause of death in black men between 35-44 years.
- Blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but account for nearly half the people living with HIV.
- More African Americans are living with HIV than seven of the 15 countries targeted for assistance under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiated by former President George W. Bush.
- Three percent of DC residents have HIV or AIDS.
- More than one million people are living with HIV or AIDS, 25 percent of whom do not know it, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO of NBLCA, said:
HIV/AIDS is a worsening public health crisis among African Americans and other people of color. Although the federal government is giving this epidemic more attention than it has received in years, it is critical that this event be more successful than ever.
We are issuing a national call to action in response to the alarming data that has come out about HIV/AIDS in the United States.
For more info, visit the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.