Home » National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was founded 24 years ago. How far have we come since?

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was founded 24 years ago. How far have we come since?

by The Grio

When the first-ever National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was founded 24 years ago today, there were over 33 million cases worldwide and the World Health Organization had designated the disease the world’s 4th deadliest killer. At 66 per 100,000 people, African Americans had rates that were more than eight times the rate of their white American counterparts. Since then, though the overall outlook continues to grow more positive, stats have remained alarmingly high for the Black community. 

In 2020, Black Americans made up roughly 12 percent of the population but accounted for 42 percent (12,827) of the 30,635 new HIV diagnoses in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The department further explained that currently, Black gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV, making up 65 percent (8,294) of new HIV diagnoses among African Americans. 

Despite those rates, hope can be found in the fact that mother-to-child transmission of the disease has dropped by 95 percent since the ‘90s. Also encouraging is the number of cases that no longer become terminal, as well as  the rising rate of individuals in the Black community who test positive but can no longer transmit the disease and are therefore able to continue living healthy lives, otherwise known as being “virally suppressed.”

According to a recent statement commemorating this year’s National Black HIV/AIDS Day by Dr. Laura Cheever, associate administrator for the department’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, a “record-breaking” 87.2% of Black clients receiving care through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which services low-income communities, are virally suppressed, up from 63.3 percent virally suppressed in 2010. 

“While we are pleased with our progress, we know there is still more we can do,” said Cheever.

In her statement, Cheever acknowledges how Black people continue to face social and…

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