Every 9.5 minutes someone in the U.S. becomes infected with HIV, in New York City alone, the case rate is almost three times the national average. AIDS is the third leading cause of death for NYC residents aged 35-54, leaving it the city with the largest population of people living with HIV/AIDS. One out of every five people living with these afflictions is unaware of his or her status. What is even more alarming is that 80 percent of new HIV diagnoses are within the Latino and African American communities.
This Wednesday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), an annual campaign, coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.” As the search for the cure continues, the dire need for early HIV diagnosis is indeed critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments. Almost 21 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed full-blown AIDS, which can be up to 10 years after first being infected. Knowing your status is the first step to improving your health and that of your partner’s and family.
Being Latino is proud to be involved in two amazing events that seek to help lend awareness to this necessary campaign. Love and Politics II, a second annual event hosted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Young Professionals United for Change, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition (YWCHAC), National Action Network (NAN), Being Latino, Manhattan Community Board 10, Human Intonation, Veaux Productions and bcondoms.
Organizer, Dr. Aletha Maybank, Assistant Commissioner of the New York Health Department and Chair of the Young Physician’s Committee of the Empire State Medical Association said, “The participation of all of these organizations in this effort illustrates that every individual, every group and every community has a role in stopping the HIV epidemic. The biggest tragedy is that the disproportionate rates of infection that we are seeing in the African American and Latino communities are avoidable, but only if we continue to aggressively raise awareness and encourage people to get tested.”
There will be free HIV testing offered at both events, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. in Harlem on 125th St in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Building, provided by Harlem United and Iris House. As a friendly community-engaging event, radio station, WBLS 107.5, will be on site providing music and giveaways.
During the evening, an awards reception will be held from 6:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. at Parlor Social Club, located at 286 Spring St. in Manhattan. This gathering is aimed toward the young, professional community and will have discussions about strengthening leadership and advocacy to create the necessary advancements on the fight for the cure. On-site testing will also be provided, care of the Community Health Network and Iris House. Receiving recognition for their participation in the ongoing fight against the disease will be, NYC Councilwoman Inez Dickens, NYC Councilwoman Letitia James, Television Personality and HIV/AIDS Activist Melyssa Ford and Reggie Nance, former Director of Incite at Emmis Communications.
Those of you within the area are more than welcomed to join us by clicking here to RSVP (Event: Love& / Password: Politic).
Those who may not be able to attend, we urge you to find your nearest testing facility, so that you can do your part in prevention by getting tested so that you along with everyone else will “know your status.”