Tuesday, Feb. 7 marks the annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to encourage African-Americans to learn their HIV status. This year’s theme is “I Am My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper, Fight HIV/AIDS.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that African-Americans accounted for approximately 45 percent of new HIV infections in 2015. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Southern Nevada Health District’s Sexual Health Clinic will offer free rapid, HIV testing at its clinic at 280 S. Decatur Blvd. from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., and free rapid HIV screenings from 10:30a.m. – 5p.m. will be available at The Center, 401 S. Maryland Parkway. For additional testing information and clinics, visit www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/sexual-health-clinic/calendar.php or call (702) 759-0702.
The following community partners will also offer free HIV testing on Saturday, Feb. 11:
· Las Vegas Urban League and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
William Pearson Community Center, 1625 W. Carey, North Las Vegas
12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
· Southern Nevada HIV Consortium and AHF
Mobile Testing Unit will be at Mingo’s Kitchen and Lounge, 1017 S. 1st Street, Las Vegas
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
According to the CDC, African-American communities continue to experience a higher burden of HIV infection than others in the United States. While infection rates for African-American women have declined, they remain higher than rates for white and Hispanic women. Young black men who are gay or bisexual are at the highest risk of infection; however, the CDC reports that after many years of increasing rates of infection among this demographic, infection rates have stabilized, indicating that HIV prevention and testing efforts have been impactful. Additional information can be found at www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/africanamericans/index.html.
In Clark County, 27 percent of newly diagnosed HIV cases and 31 percent of newly diagnosed AIDS cases occurred among African-Americans.
According to the CDC:
· Among all African Americans diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 73 percent were men and 26 percent were women.
· Among all African Americans diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 57 percent were gay or bisexual men, 39 percent of whom were young men between the ages of 13 and 24.
· In 2014, an estimated 48 percent of those diagnosed with AIDS in the United States were African Americans. By the end of 2014, 42 percent of those ever diagnosed with AIDS were African Americans.
Early diagnosis is critical for people who are HIV positive so they can benefit from treatment. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they have developed AIDS, which can occur 10 years after infection. Additional recommendations from the CDC include annual testing for individuals who engage in high-risk sexual behavior or use intravenous drugs. Pregnant women should be tested during the early months of their pregnancy to help eliminate transmission of HIV to their infants.
The Southern Nevada Health District’s Sexual Health Clinic is located at 280 S. Decatur Blvd. Services include confidential testing, counseling, case management, and referrals. The Health District offers several HIV test options, some with same-day results. In addition, testing is available Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at The Center. For additional information, call (702) 733-9800.
Access information about the Southern Nevada Health District on its website: www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict, YouTube: www.youtube.com/SNHealthDistrict, and Twitter: www.twitter.com/SNHDinfo. The Health District is available in Spanish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TuSNHD. Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the Health District on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404. Additional information and data can be accessed through the Healthy Southern Nevada website: www.HealthySouthernNevada.org.
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