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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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Tuesday, February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a time to reflect on the enormous and disproportionate toll that HIV/AIDS has taken—and continues to take—on African Americans.
Nationwide, more than 1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans. In New Jersey, more than 33,300 people are living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey and 55 percent or 18,500 of them—are African American. And 86 percent of the children living with HIV/AIDS are minorities.
The rate of black women living with HIV/AIDS in this state is 18 times that of white women. And the rate of black men living with HIV/AIDS is 10 times that of white men.
In New Jersey, HIV disease remains the third leading cause of death for black men, the fifth leading cause of death for black females and the first leading cause of death for black men and women between the ages of 25 and 44.
New Jersey has one of the nation’s largest populations of African Americans living with HIV/AIDS.
“Advancements in treatment have led to a decline in the number of pediatric infections and have slowed the progress from HIV to AIDS and enhanced survival after AIDS,’’ said Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Fred. M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
“However, many HIV-infected people in African American and Latino communities are not able to take advantage of these advances because they are not aware that they have HIV,’’ said Commissioner Jacobs.
A free, Rapid HIV test that allows people to get results in 20 minutes is the focus of a new, six-month advertising and public awareness campaign designed to encourage more people—especially those in African American and Latino communities—to get tested and to seek treatment if necessary.
The radio and bus advertising campaign targets African Americans and Latinos because they are disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The campaign builds on the success of a similar campaign the Department of Health and Senior Services conducted over the past two years.
“The sooner you know your HIV status, the sooner you can get treatment. Nearly half of those currently living with HIV are unaware of their status,’’ said Dr. Jacobs.
The Rapid HIV test is available in 140 public counseling and testing sites around the state such as hospitals, clinics, community health centers, mobile vans, churches and local health departments.
For testing sites go to http://www.nj.gov/health/aids/rapidtesting/index.shtml.
Nearly 45,000 people have taken the test since it first became available in November 2003.
Nationally, New Jersey ranks fifth in cumulative AIDS cases, third in cumulative pediatric cases and has the highest proportion of cumulative AIDS cases in women.
There are events going on through out the state on Tuesday, National Black Aids Awareness Day see http://www.blackaidsday.org/states/nj.html for more information.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360