Health and Fitness

Know Your Status – National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

SPRINGFIELD, ILL.–(ENEWSPF)–February 7, 2011. In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Center for Minority Health Services is sponsoring health fairs, testing events and symposiums statewide to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS, to encourage HIV testing and to reduce stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS among African-American youth and young adults. The department is providing more than 8,800 rapid testing kits to organizations statewide for HIV testing initiatives. The department is also organizing group viewings in various locations across the state of the documentary “A mirror to the Heart.” The documentary will air Monday, Feb. 7 on PBS.

“The African-American community is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS with approximately half of all HIV/AIDS cases in Illinois among African Americans,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. “People need to be aware of HIV/AIDS in their community, learn how the disease is transmitted and what risky behaviors to avoid. I encourage communities to recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Get tested and know your status – the only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.”

In 2005, IDPH launched BASUAH – Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS – an aggressive campaign to address the alarming trend of infection among the African-American community in Illinois. African Americans represent 15 percent of the state’s population, but account for almost half of all newly reported HIV cases.

In 2009, blacks accounted for 49 percent (7,892) of all HIV cases diagnosed in Illinois (16,010) and 50 percent (18,667) of all AIDS cases diagnosed in the state (37,370). There are 60,000 Illinois residents living with HIV of which 49 percent are black. Illinois statistics are similar to national statistics.

The BASUAH Web site will feature a short video by Dr. Arnold commemorating National Black HIV Awareness Day. Additionally, the BASUAH Web site has been updated with educational information and Illinois, national, and global statistics on HIV/AIDS. There is also an e-card link on the BASUAH Web site that encourages people to send personalized e-cards to relatives and friends.

Visit for a complete listing of events, or use our Text2Survive mobile calendar by texting “event” to 36363 for listings of free statewide events. You can also locate an HIV testing center by texting IL and your zip Code to 36363 for English, or text “centro” plus the zip code to 36363 for Spanish. A confidential text message will be sent to the phone identifying the nearest HIV/AIDS testing center contact information. You can also test your knowledge on HIV and AIDS by texting the word “game” to 36363.

Join our Facebook cause, “I’m Changing the landscape of HIV and AIDS” by donating your profile image for a day. To do this, log onto your Facebook account (or set one up if you don’t already have one). Search for IDPH-BASUAH (Government Organization), click on “Join the fight” tab and accept the application request to download the badge to your profile. Use the share button to share this application with your friends. By doing this, you are helping to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.