Cascade AIDS Project is honoring National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with public community celebration this Saturday at Charles Jordan Community Center in North Portland.
There will be food, music, activities and free rapid HIV testing and incentives for those who get tested at the event, which is designed to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the Black community and encourage testing, community engagement and treatment for those living with HIV.
2016 marks the 16th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. NBHAAD was founded in 1999 as a national response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities.
Despite the incredible progress that medical science and informed communities have made countering the HIV epidemic in the United States, black Americans are still being infected with HIV at an worrying rate. In 2014, 44 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. were African-Americans, who comprise 12 percent of the general population. In an even more alarming figure, the CDC recently estimated that half of all black MSM (men who have sex with men) in the United States will end up infected with HIV. Much of this gap can be explained by disparities in access to health care.
But when those living with HIV gain access to treatment, the vast majority will live healthy, normal lifespans—and are unlikely to infect others when they regularly see a healthcare provider and follow a consistent regimen of HIV-suppressing medications.