Friday, February 7, marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2020 (NBHAAD). To underscore how important social support is to our health, this year’s theme is “We’re in This Together.”

The grassroots initiative was launched in 1999 to raise awareness about prevention, testing and treatment in a community disproportionately affected by HIV.

Search the hashtag #NBHAAD on social media to find local events and to promote the initiative—we include several example throughout this article.

You can download images and copy sample tweets and posts from the NBHAAD page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On a related page, the CDC offers relevant HIV statistics and information regarding the African-American community. Below are a few samples.

  • First of all, there’s some good news: HIV rates among some African-American populations declined between 2010 and 2017. Diagnoses among Black women dropped 27% and those among heterosexual men decreased 32%.

  • HIV rates among Black gay and bisexual men remained stable between 2010 and 2017. Notably, diagnoses went up 42% among those ages 25 to 34. The rates remained stable among men 55 and older and decreased between 11% and 36% among other age groups.

  • In 2018, African Americans made up 13% of the U.S. population but accounted for 42% of the 37,832 new HIV cases. More specifically, 31% of the total cases were among Black men and 11% were among Black women.

  • Among the Black men who tested positive for HIV in 2018, 80% of the cases resulted from male-to-male sexual contact, 14% resulted from heterosexual contact, 4% were from injection drug use and 2% were from male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use.
  • Among the women, 92% of the cases were related to heterosexual contact, 8% resulted from injection drug use and 1% was related to “other.”

  • For every 100 African Americans living with HIV in 2016, 61% received some care, 47% were retained in care and 48% were virally suppressed. For the same year, six out of seven Black people living with HIV in the United States were aware of their HIV status.

The CDC points out a number of challenges facing prevention efforts among the community. For example, rates of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are higher, and STIs can make it easier to transmit or acquire HIV. Socioeconomic issues such as lack of access to health care, education and housing can increase a person’s risk for HIV, as can stigma, homophobia and discrimination.

In related POZ news, read “From Homeless With HIV to an “Artivist” With Hope,” about D’Angelo Morrison’s transformation after picking up a camera for the photo-storytelling project Through Positive Eyes.