PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
February 6, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Recognizes National Black HIV Awareness Day

2014 National Theme is I Am My Brother's and Sister's Keeper. Fight HIV/AIDS!

Commissioner of Health Mary E. O'Dowd recognized National Black HIV Awareness Day, that takes place each February 7th, by urging African-American residents in New Jersey to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their community from HIV/AIDS.

"Get educated, get tested and if necessary get treated for HIV/AIDS," said Health Commissioner O'Dowd. "Despite progress in reducing transmissions of HIV/AIDS, disparities remain. African Americans make up 14 percent of New Jersey's total population but account for 53 percent of the 37,270 people currently living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey."

The CDC recommends that all adults and adolescents be tested for HIV as part of routine preventive health care.

"Testing is critical-the earlier a person knows their status, the sooner they can be enrolled in life extending treatments," noted O'Dowd. "Early detection is key to improving health outcomes for people with HIV/AIDS and protecting their loved ones."

More than 140 rapid HIV test sites are available around the state-in all 21 counties. Nearly 100,000 HIV tests were performed at these sites last year. Testing sites include community-based organizations, hospitals, county and municipal health departments, federally qualified health centers and other health facilities that make getting tested easy and convenient.

Rapid HIV testing requires less than a single drop of blood from a fingertip. Test results are available in 20 to 40 minutes.

"HIV/AIDS greatly impacts New Jersey's African-American community, as well as other minority communities in our state," said Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Arturo Brito. "Minorities account for 78 percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS; and 86 percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS are minorities. The Department commends all of the community groups that are reaching out this week to minority populations to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and steps that can be taken to prevent it."

More information on HIV/AIDS can be found on the Department's website at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/aids/index.shtml

And on the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/