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Facing AIDS

World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988. World AIDS Day provides governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

Because HIV/AIDS crosses all demographic and cultural boundaries, there are a number of observances throughout the year focused on specific populations and their unique experiences with HIV/AIDS. You can find free toolkits, media resources, and planning information for each of these observances.

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. A working group of national organizations directs, plans, and organizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. While making up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 49 percent of AIDS cases. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34, and the second leading cause of death for Black men ages 35 to 44.

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Day. In 2005, women represented 26 percent of new AIDS diagnoses, compared to only 11 percent of new AIDS cases reported in 1990. Most women are infected with HIV through heterosexual contact and injection drug use. Women of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34.

March 20 is National Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. HIV is affecting thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). AI/AN have the third highest rate of AIDS diagnosis in the United States, despite having the smallest population. AI/AN people with AIDS are likely to be younger than non-AI/AN people with AIDS. AI/ANs also have the shortest time between AIDS diagnosis and death.

May 18 is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Despite much research, there still is not a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. All Americans, especially communities of color and men who have sex with men, need to learn more about HIV vaccine research in order to make an HIV vaccine a reality. This awareness day provides a great opportunity to thank the thousands of people who are working to help find an HIV preventive vaccine—the clinical trial volunteers, health professionals, community members, and the researchers.

May 19 is National Asian and Pacific Islander (API) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, sponsored by the Banyan Tree Project, a national campaign to fight HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination in API communities. According to the CDC, the number of APIs living with AIDS has climbed by more than 10 percent in each of the last 5 years. Sixty-seven percent of API men living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 are men who have had sex with other men. Eighty percent of API women living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 were infected through heterosexual contact.

June 8 is Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Planning Committee convened by Caribbean People International Collective, Inc. HIV/AIDS has devastated the Caribbean, which ranks second only to sub-Saharan Africa for AIDS prevalence. In 2006, the United Nations estimated that 19,000 Caribbeans died of AIDS, and that an additional 250,000 were living with the virus. In 2005, there were a reported 38,133 new HIV diagnoses among Caribbean Americans in the U.S.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of five people living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their HIV status. National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity for people nationwide to learn their HIV status, and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. The Latino Commission on AIDS , the Hispanic Federation, and many other organizations organize this day. Hispanics/Latinos, who represent approximately 13 percent of the total U.S. population, make up 18 percent of new HIV infections. Among Latinos, men make up the vast majority of new HIV infections (76 percent), but Latino women are also at disproportionate risk for HIV. They are infected with HIV at a rate four times greater than white women.

 
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