February 4, 2011 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day local organizations throughout the state, funded by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), will provide free HIV testing and educational activities on Monday, February 7, 2011.
“Although Blacks in Connecticut only make up ten percent of the state’s population, they account for nearly one-third of the state’s population living with HIV/AIDS,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “It’s important that not only Blacks, but people of all races and ethnicities, educate themselves about HIV/AIDS and get tested to know their status.”
According to state health officials, there are 10,574 reported cases of people living with HIV/AIDS in the state. Blacks account for 3,412 reported cases (2009 data).
Monday marks the 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The day is meant to promote education, HIV testing and treatment in an effort to mobilize Black communities nationwide. In 2008, an estimated 18,328 Blacks in the United States received an AIDS diagnosis, a number that has remained relatively stable since 2005. In 2006, Black men accounted for two-thirds of new infections (65%) among all Blacks, with 63% of those being men who have sex with men.
There are several agencies throughout the state that will be offering free HIV testing. For a list of participating agencies, visit www.ct.gov/dph/hivtesting or call (860) 509-7801 to find where to get tested. More information is also available at http://blackaidsday.org/. Additionally, individuals can speak to their health care provider about HIV testing.
In 2009, the Connecticut General Assembly passed House Bill 6391, An Act Concerning Revisions to the HIV Testing Consent Law. This law, which went into effect July 1, 2009, facilitates routine HIV screening in health care settings by eliminating the requirement for a separate written or oral consent for HIV testing. Testing is voluntary.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Activities
Bridgeport – Greater Bridgeport Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, ASHA Women’s Conference
February 7, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. - Mount Aery Baptist Church, 73 Frank Street, Bridgeport: HIV testing and free giveaways, to register call 203-870-0761
Hartford – Latinos Community Services
February 7, 2011, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.- Zezzo House, 184 Homestead Avenue, Hartford: HIV testing (event organized by the African-American Caribbean Care Team)
February 8, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Loaves and Fishes, 360 Farmington Avenue: HIV testing and outreach
New Haven – Cornell Scott Hill Health Center
February 7, 2011, 10:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m. - 428 Columbus Avenue, New Haven: HIV testing and free giveaways