Health/Fitness » HIV/AIDS

ASOs Observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Feb 7, 2014

Across the United States, AIDS Service Organizations are commemorating Feb. 7 as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The theme of this year's event is "I Am My Brother's/Sister/s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS!" The day will be devoted to testing, treatment and education, to raise awareness of the impact of HIV in the Black community.

"African Americans and other Black populations are disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. That was the case at the start of the AIDS epidemic and that disparity has only deepened with time," said Rebecca Haag, CEO of AIDS Action Committee. "We need to keep talking about the issue, and to keep bringing attention and resources to it."

In Boston, AIDS Action In Boston, AIDS Action's The MALE Center will partner with HBGC Boston (Hispanic Black Gay Coalition) to offer free HIV testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Union United Methodist Church, 485 Columbus Ave., in the South End. To set up an appointment in advance, contact Quincy Roberts at

The MALE Center promotes the well-being of all gay and bi men by offering free confidential rapid HIV testing, low threshold mental health counseling, distribution of prevention and safer sex materials in bars and nightclubs, and a variety of social groups focused on healthy living and social interaction.

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gay and bisexual men are at least 44 times more likely to contract HIV than the general population. In the period of 2006 to 2010, there has been a 48 percent increase in new HIV incidences among Black MSM aged 13-29.

The Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health statistics reveal that although African Americans are only 13 percent of the population, they accounted for 44 percent of HIV infections in 2010. And African-American men have almost 7.8 times the AIDS rates as white males, and are seven times as likely to die from HIV/AIDS as non-Hispanic white men.

In Massachusetts, Blacks make up only six percent of the state’s population, but they comprise 30 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS. Free HIV testing will also be available. Light refreshments will be served.

In Boston on Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14, AIDS Action will partner with Fenway Health and Harvard University Center for AIDS Research to screen the PBS documentary "Endgame: AIDS in Black America," followed by a discussion. The event will take place at AIDS Action Committee, 75 Amory St., Boston from noon-4 p.m. The event is free; RSVP to Keturah Blalock at or 617-450-1510.

In Cambridge, AIDS Action is partnering with The Men’s Health League, an outreach program of the Cambridge Health Department, for a day of awareness and dialogue about the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color. The event will include discussion about outreach initiatives into the Black community. The event takes place from noon-3 p.m. at AIDS Action Committee, 359 Green St., Cambridge. The event is free; RSVP to Anissa Ray at or call 617-599-0211.

The nation’s capital will try to #Get2Zero Twitter Chat, engaging young people aged 18-24 to discuss how coming of age in a world with prevalent HIV prevention messages and methods impacted the rates of infection among young people. The event will be held from 1-2 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Twitter handle @blkwomenshealth

Washington, D.C., is also the place for Inspired Words: Poetry Open Mic, a youth poetry event featuring local spoken word poet and advocate Mary Bowman. Free and confidential HIV testing will be offered on-site, as well as refreshments. This event is open to all youth ages 13-21 years old via SMYAL, a D.C.-based non-profit serving LGBTQ youth.

The CBE Connection: When S#!T Gets Real! Will be held at 2406 18th St. NW in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by CollegeBound ENT and The Pause Project, will open up the dialogue about HIV/AIDS between the youth in the black community. There will also be a movie screening of the Documentary "GYT Presents I’m Positive," and a discussion on the third floor of NYNY, a lounge in Adams Morgan of Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, the Universal Family Connection, Inc. will host an event at 1350 W. 103rd St. For information, contact Juliet Jones at 773-881-1711. Free HIV testing will also be offered to all students of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Shimer College, and Vandercook College from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. All testing will confidentially take place in the Student Health and Wellness Center (3rd floor IIT Tower).

And in New York City, Hep C education and liver screening, resource tabling and free lunches will be provided at the St. Luke A.M.E. Church at 1854 Amsterdam Ave. E-mail or call Anita Parker at 917-414-2668. Duane Reade pharmacies throughout the city will also offer HIV educational materials and testing.

At New York’s City Hall at 10 a.m., join a National Black HIV Awareness Day Rally at 131 Duane St. Join Black leaders and allies as they call for justice and action to tackle the HIV epidemic. For more information contact Jason Walker via e-mail, or at 917-200-1153.

GMHC will hold a Divine Intervention Featuring Dr. Quinn M. Gentry: Monologues addressing the lives of women impacted by HIV, domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness and mental health disorders at their headquarters at 446 W. 33rd St. The event is free, but registration is required. To RSVP, email your full name and telephone number to Food and drinks will be served.

Atlanta’s Worldwide Youth Christian Group Movement Unashamed Impact will "create a viral movement across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media sites to Help Bring awareness to all people across the world about the Facts of HIV in the African-American community and also to help end the stigma and bust myths people have about the disease!"

And the ladies of Gamma Gamma Chi Sorority, Inc.’s Alpha Chapter are proud to host their first National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Community Health Forum at Atlanta Masjid of al-Islam. Sis. Hawa Kone of AID Atlanta will be the guest speaker for this event, and also she intends to have a person living with HIV to accompany her to provide further community education. This event is open to Metro Atlanta’s Muslim and non-Muslim communities of all races, and will feature Friday Prayer/Salat-ul-Jummah (non-Muslims are also invited to the worship service) at 1 p.m., followed by a National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Community Forum and reception.

In Dallas, the Afiya Center is proud to host "Get Tested Grab A Bite." They have partnered with various organizations to provide Free HIV Testing & STD Screenings. Dallas County Health and Human Services Mobile Unit will be on site. Every person who gets tested will receive a free BBQ Chicken Plate. So come out from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and learn of your status and eat some good BBQ. 501 Wynnewood Shopping Center in Wynnewood Village. For information, call James Gipson at 214-716-9396

Houston’s Show Ur Pride group will team up with Bee Busy, Inc. and Health Horizons, Inc. to start a movement to encourage more African Americans to get tested and know their status. Show Ur Pride will be a testing and social media extravaganza for the Greater Houston and East Texas areas on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day each year. The event will be held all day at 9896 Bissonnet St., 6th Fl.

San Francisco will hold numerous events, including a 6 p.m. press conference on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, a 6:30 p.m. candlelight march to the Quaker Meeting House, followed by an NBHAAD event program consisting of performances by local Bay Area artist and a community panel discussion of AIDS activism and action within the black community.

Los Angeles will stage Black Love = Safe Love, a round-table event where attendees will learn about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and other biomedical interventions from experts in the field; attendees will also have the opportunity to get an HIV test. This event is a collaboration between the Black AIDS Institute, BTAN LA, Black Los Angeles HIV/AIDS Coalition (BLAAC), the Magic Johnson Foundation, JWCH Institute, Inc. and One Woman Can. It will be held from 5-8 p.m. at 1400 N. La Brea Ave. Register at

Oakland has a full roster of events planned, with "Research & Reality," an HIV prevention breakfast update at 1204 Preservation Park Way. Join them for a review of the new realities of biomedical HIV Prevention Research as outlined in "AVAC Report 2013: Research & Reality," including Implementation of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis); Virologic Suppression through treatment adherence, new ARV treatments, therapeutic vaccines, and functional cures; Women’s HIV Prevention Research Agenda; plus a report back from the 11th National African American MSM Conference on HIV/AIDS and Other Health Disparities held Jan. 16-19, 2014, in Orlando, FL.

And get tested on the go in Miami with Take the Train, Take the Test, offering free testing at train stations located in Miami, including the Brownsville Station and the Martin Luther King Train Station.

For a complete list of events, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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