February 7th is National Black HIV/Aids Awareness day and Richmond will be reaching out to take part in the event.
“Since HIV was first reported, it’s become an epidemic in the African-American community,” said George Jones, Marketing specialist for the Richmond City Health District.”What we’re doing is outreach, HIV testing, We’ve made HIV testing locations easily accessible and hopefully we can get a lot of people to take advantage of it.”
Testing will take place at the Peter Paul Development Center, 1708 N 22nd St. from 6 to 7:30 PM.
The specifics of HIV/AIDS in the black population are staggering. According to a 2010 CDC study, 72% of new HIV infections were in the black community, and 42% of the total were in the black gay population. The statistics for Richmond, Jones said, were even worse. “Nearly half of the United States population that is infected with AIDS or HIV is African-American, and here in the city, the rate is even higher than that.”
Blacks are 9 times more likely to be infected than whites. To break it down by the numbers, for every 5 Virginians living with HIV/Aids, 4 are Men, 3 are Black, 3, 2 are men who have sex with men, and 2 are ages 20 to 34 at diagnosis.
Jones said educating and testing the black community was a challenge due to out of date beliefs that stigmatize the disease. “… When it first occurred, it (HIV/Aids) started as a ‘gay man’s disease,’ but it has transcended that. It has not only affected heterosexual people, but women as well.”
Please get tested.
Additional testing locations:
Fan Free Clinic
1010 N. Thompson Street
Richmond, VA 23230
VA Department of Health
400 E. Cary Street
serves patients on a first-come, first-served basis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. STI Clinic registration for morning clinic is 7:30 am to 10:30 am. Afternoon clinic registration is 12:30 – 3:00 pm.