PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
February 6, 2015

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

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

Christie Administration Recognizes National Black HIV Awareness Day


2015 Theme - I Am My Brother's and Sister's Keeper. Fight HIV/AIDS!

New Jersey Department of Health officials are marking the 15th annual National Black HIV Awareness Day on February 7th by encouraging African-American residents in New Jersey to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their community from HIV/AIDS. On February 9th, New Jersey Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito will join local community leaders in Trenton at the New Jersey Human Development Corporation's observance of National Black HIV Awareness Day at the Greater Mt. Zion Church at 9:30am.

"Although we have made great progress in reducing transmissions of HIV/AIDS, disparities remain," said New Jersey Health Commissioner O'Dowd. "African Americans make up 14 percent of New Jersey's total population but account for 52 percent of the more than 37,900 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.

"Providers should make routine testing for HIV/AIDS a priority for all patients. This will increase our detection rates and decrease stigma," added O'Dowd. "Early detection is key to improving health outcomes for people with HIV/AIDS and protecting their loved ones. "

Minorities account for 78 percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS; and 87 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," said Dr. Arturo Brito. "It is with these communities' leadership that we will be able to reduce disparities in HIV/AIDS cases."

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.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was started to focus attention on HIV in the black community, the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States.

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/.

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Last Reviewed: 2/6/2015