FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 25, 2010
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events scheduled
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Events will be held in South Carolina around Feb. 7 to highlight the impact of HIV/AIDS on African-American communities, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.
“South Carolina continues to have a disproportionate number of HIV/AIDS cases among African-Americans,” said Shauna Hicks, director of DHEC’s Office of Minority Health. “We must continue, and increase, culturally competent and sensitive prevention programs in our health departments and community organizations.
“DHEC will partner with community-based organizations to sponsor activities such as free HIV testing and HIV educational forums on the 10th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day,” Hicks said. “Sites include housing communities, churches and community centers.”
Hicks said that various tests will be offered throughout the state, including the traditional blood draw method and the rapid test, which provides preliminary results in less than an hour.
“This year's effort emphasizes the steps that African-Americans can take to protect their health and the health of their loved ones by knowing their own HIV status,” Hicks said. “Those steps include learning the facts about HIV, getting tested, knowing your HIV status and taking steps to make a difference in your community.”
According to DHEC statistics:
- African-Americans represent 30 percent of the state's population, yet account for 73 percent of the recently diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in South Carolina.
- Eighty percent of 15- to 24 year-olds who are newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina are African-American.
For information on events and HIV testing sites in local communities, contact DHEC's South Carolina AIDS/STD toll-free hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (2437).