Marking National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, NBLCA Announces Nationwide Anti-Stigma Campaign and Sponsors Forum on HIV-Hepatitis C Co-infection
New York, NY (February 6, 2014) - Marking National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7), an
annual initiative to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, education, testing, and treatment in black communities throughout the nation and the
world, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) has
announced plans to launch a nationwide anti-stigma initiative, "Shame-Free Stops HIV: A Campaign to End Stigma."
Led by president and CEO C. Virginia Fields, NBLCA is spearheading the "Shame-Free Stops HIV" public education campaign
to spread awareness about how stigma and fear contribute to the spread of the HIV infection, which has had a disproportionate impact
on the black community. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although African Americans make
up 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 47 percent of all new HIV infections. In the U.S. People Living with
HIV Stigma Index, 26 percent of people living with HIV say that fear of stigma and discrimination prevented them
from seeking treatment and 52 percent say that "lack of education" is the biggest driver of HIV-related stigma.
"A central goal of this campaign will be to educate people about the connection between stigma and the high rate of HIV
infection-how shame and fear of being ostracized inhibit open dialogue about risk factors, fuel ignorance about how HIV is transmitted,
discourage people from getting tested and seeking treatment, and prevent people from disclosing their HIV status to their intimate
partners and loved ones," said Ms. Fields. "Medical advances now make it possible to effectively treat HIV if it is detected
early, but as long as attitudes and behaviors that reinforce stigma and shame persist, HIV will continue to ravage our communities."
NBLCA plans to engage its wide network of community and faith leaders in the anti-stigma outreach initiative. "The theme
of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is 'I Am My Brother/Sister's Keeper.' Our faith leaders can be positive role models
and help to spread a message of compassion and acceptance for those affected by HIV," Ms. Fields added.
Also in observance of NBHAAD, NBLCA and Uptown HealthLink are co-sponsoring a discussion on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
co-infection at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine on February 6, 12 noon - 1:00 pm, with a panel of medical practitioners and
health advocates from leading medical institutions, government agencies, and community health organizations. According to the
CDC, one quarter of HIV-infected people in the U.S. are also infected with the HCV virus, a leading cause of life-threatening
liver disease. This event is one of many that NBLCA will present in a lead-up to the second annual national African
American Hepatitis C Action Day on July 25, a mobilization initiative that the organization helped to establish to
have an impact on the high rate of HCV infection in the black community.
The mission of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) is to educate, mobilize, and empower black
leaders to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities.
For more information, visit www.nblca.org .
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