Testing Urged For National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 4, 2009
To mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Saturday, February 7, 2009), Contra Costa Health Services´ AIDS Program is urging all county residents to get tested for HIV, especially the African American community, which is disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic.
"In Contra Costa, African Americans account for more than 30% of those infected with HIV or AIDS, yet they make up less than 10% of the total population," said Carla Goad, AIDS Program Education and Services Supervisor. "This day is an important reminder to Get Educated! Get Tested! Get Involved! Get Treated!" The National Theme for Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is "Black Life is Worth Saving" (www.blackaidsday.org).
According to Goad, HIV testing locations can be found by calling 1-800-287-0200 or visiting www.cchealth.org/services/hiv_aids/.
To recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Contra Costa Health Services´ community education show Get Ready, Get Healthy covering HIV/AIDS prevention will air at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 7 on Contra Costa Television (Comcast Channel 27, Astound Channel 32). A Spanish-language version of the show, Vida Sana en Vivo, will air at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. also on Saturday, February 7 on Contra Costa Television.
HIV — human immunodeficiency virus — can lead to AIDS. HIV is primarily transmitted during sex, by sharing needles or during birth. The AIDS Program has been focusing HIV prevention efforts in the African American community as part of its five-year HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan. The AIDS Program coordinated the plan under the guidance of the Contra Costa HIV/AIDS Consortium. It is available on the CCHS website, www.cchealth.org.
Goad said there has been an increase of people living with HIV or AIDS in Contra Costa since 1993. "We are focusing our resources on linking people living with HIV/AIDS with medical care for good health and transmission prevention. We are also encouraging everyone to know their HIV status so we can stop the spread of this disease," she said.
The county´s five-year HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan took effect in June 2008. In addition to defining the at-risk populations, the plan outlines three central goals for the next five years: decrease new HIV infections among the at-risk populations, make people aware of their HIV status by expanding access to care for testing and treatment, and finally to improve the quality of HIV prevention efforts through evaluation.
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