Blog Posts Related to the African American Community
- Posted byon February 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM EST
On this, the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I remember my sister-in-law’s fight with the disease. Tragically, she did not win that fight – she left behind a devastated husband and five-year old daughter. But it is in her memory, and the memory of all the friends and loved ones we have lost, that we vow to keep working toward the day when HIV/AIDS is history.
This past December, on World AIDS Day, President Obama spoke about the United States’ commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. In a speech at George Washington University, he told the audience, “Make no mistake, we are going to win this fight. But the fight is not over … not by a long shot.”
Sadly, this is especially true in the African-American community. Black Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections. Among young black gay men alone, infections have increased by nearly 50 percent in just three years, and black women account for the largest share of HIV infections among women. We each must do our part by getting tested regularly, and by educating those in our community about what they can do to help end the epidemic.
President Obama is committed to doing his part as well. In 2010, he released the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS plan. Together with Secretary Clinton, he has helped assemble a coalition of governments, healthcare professionals, and service providers. They have set a goal that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago: an AIDS-free generation, in which virtually all children are born HIV-free, and prevention tools help them stay HIV-free throughout their lives.
- Posted byon February 7, 2012 at 8:45 AM EST
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from blog.aids.gov.
February 7, 2012 marks the 12th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a national community mobilization initiative that focuses on promoting HIV education, testing, involvement, and treatment to African Americans, who are disproportionately at risk for HIV/AIDS. As part of the Federal observance of NBHAAD, I spoke with three people who are helping to lead the response to HIV/AIDS in the African American community. They included:
- Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Dr. Deborah Parham Hopson, Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau, at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Mr. Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, AIDS United.
Each of the interviewees had an opportunity to discuss how NBHAAD can make communities more effective in responding to HIV/AIDS.
- Posted byon February 6, 2012 at 6:10 PM EST
In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – February 7, Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention released the following message:
On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we have greater opportunity than ever before to reverse the HIV epidemic in Black America and the nation as a whole.
Today, we have a National HIV/AIDS Strategy that directs the nation to focus its prevention efforts on communities at greatest risk, including African-Americans – the racial group most severely impacted by HIV. We have an African-American community that is mobilized like never before, with many of the nation’s longstanding black national organizations making HIV prevention a key priority.
Over the past several years, we have also witnessed tremendous breakthroughs in HIV prevention that can help alter the course of the epidemic. Rates of HIV testing are growing and are at an all-time high. Yet research now shows that early treatment not only provides improved health and much longer lives for people living with HIV, but it also can reduce their risk of passing the virus to partners by 96 percent. And new prevention tools – like a daily pill – have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection in some high-risk populations, when combined with other prevention measures.
Now despite these important advances, the fight against this disease is far from over. The harsh reality is that today, even in the face of great hope and promise, African-American communities continue to be devastated by HIV. Although only 14 percent of the U.S. population, African-Americans account for almost half of those living and dying with HIV/ AIDS in this country.
And HIV touches every corner of the black community and the impact of HIV has been especially devastating among black youth. Approximately 40 percent of new infections among blacks are now occurring among those aged 13 and 29 years. Young black gay and bisexual men are the most severely affected, experiencing a nearly 50 percent increase in new HIV infections over the past few years. In addition, HIV is now the third leading cause of death among black women in the prime of their lives – those aged 35 to 44 years.
Now to turn the tide on this epidemic, we must confront the complex social and environmental conditions that help fuel the HIV epidemic in African-American communities. Lack of access to health care plays an important role. We know that those who don’t have the means to see a doctor may not get an HIV test or HIV treatment until it’s far too late. We also know that nearly one in five African-Americans are without health insurance.
Where you live and where you choose your sexual partners also has a significant impact on your HIV risk. Higher rates of HIV that exist in black communities and the fact that African-Americans tend to select partners who are of the same race increases the likelihood of being exposed to HIV infection with each sexual encounter.
Homophobia and stigma – far too prevalent in many communities – prevents too many in the black community from getting tested, and if HIV positive, from getting treated.
HIV prevention in black communities remains one of our top public health priorities. Last year, for example, CDC invested more than half of its HIV prevention budget to fight HIV among African-Americans. We’ve expanded initiatives to reach more African-Americans with HIV testing and increased the number and reach of HIV prevention programs in black communities. We are working with our partners, like those in the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, to launch campaigns and undertake activities aimed at increasing HIV testing and awareness among black women and black gay and bisexual men, among other groups.
Yet together we have much more work to do. Today, I call on the faith community, the public health and community leaders, teachers, parents and business leaders – both within and outside black communities – to maximize the powerful tools we now have at our fingertips and to work together to bring this epidemic to an end.
I also urge each of you to do your part. Get tested for HIV. If you are sexually active, use condoms consistently and correctly to protect yourself and your partners. If you are a person living with HIV, get and stay in treatment and take the necessary steps to prevent HIV transmission to your partners. You can learn more at www.actagainstaids.org. We can end this crisis. And we must remember that HIV is completely preventable. By working together, we can put an end to this epidemic in our lifetimes.
For more information, visit AIDS.gov
James Albino is the Senior Program Manager in the Office of National AIDS Policy
- Posted byon February 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM EST
On Friday, February 3, the White House Business Council, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies will host an Urban Economic Forum on Barnard’s New York City campus to discuss the Administration’s commitment to supporting policies that create private-sector jobs and support the next generation of entrepreneurs who will not only strengthen our economy but compete globally.
The Urban Economic Forum at Barnard College is the first of a multi-city series designed to connect urban entrepreneurs and business owners to the local and national resources and networks they need to grow and hire, and to discuss ways to enhance their success. In addition to New York City, the Urban Economic Forums will be held in Birmingham, Columbus, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
The forum will be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
February 3, 2012
8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET
The Diana Center at Barnard College
117th Street and Broadway
New York, NY
- Posted byon February 1, 2012 at 2:21 PM EST
February 1, 2012 marks the beginning of African American History Month. During each week in February, the White House and agencies across the Obama Administration will host events celebrating African Americans and highlighting the significant impact the Administration’s policies have had on the African American community. Below is a list of this week’s American American History events:
Today, February 1, Secretary Arne Duncan and the White House hosted a conference call to discuss Higher Education and Civil Rights in Education. The call highlighted the Obama Administration’s commitment to increasing college affordability and accessibility for students in underserved communities.
On Thursday, February 2, The White House along with Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, will co-host the National Black Nurses Association during their 24th Annual Black Nurses Day.
Finally, on Friday, February 3, The White House Business Council, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the White House White House Council on Women and Girls will lead an Urban Economic Forum at Barnard College in New York.
We will continue to highlight African American History Month events each week at www.whitehouse.gov/africanamericans.
Wednesday Thursday Friday February 1 February 2 February 3 Conference call with Secretary Duncanon Higher Education and Civil Rights in Education The White House cohosts National Black Nurses Association with Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin Urban Economic Forum at Barnard College – New York
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM EST
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address and laid out his Blueprint for an America that is built to last, a nation where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everyone does their fair share, and where everyone is held accountable for their actions. All week, Vice President Biden and over 30 White House officials have been taking your questions on Twitter.
And, on Monday January 30 at 5:30 p.m. ET, President Obama will answer questions that have been submitted by Americans from across the country in the first completely-virtual interview from the White House.
The deadline to submit your questions is midnight on Saturday January 28, so head over to the White House YouTube Channel now to submit a question or vote for your favorite question.
Then don’t forget to tune in at Monday at 5:30 p.m. when the President will join a special Google+ Hangout from the West Wing. He'll be answering several of the most popular questions that have been submitted through YouTube, and some of the people who submitted questions will even be invited to join the President in the Hangout and take part in the live conversation.