In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the City of Milwaukee Health Department and community partners are hosting free, confidential testing and resources on Tuesday, February 7 from 1-6 p.m. at Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center (1452 N. 7th St., Milwaukee).
“The impact of HIV continues to be felt across the country and has a disproportionate impact on black residents,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “We have the tools to prevent the spread of HIV, and it begins with a single step: Getting tested. It is critically important that all individuals know their HIV status and then take steps to prevent the spread and reduce their risk.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while black individuals represent 12 percent of the population, they accounted for 45 percent of the nation’s new HIV cases in 2014. In Wisconsin, the city of Milwaukee made up 10 percent of the state’s population, but accounted for 47 percent of all HIV diagnoses statewide in 2015. Young black MSM (men who have sex with men) accounted for 31 percent of HIV diagnoses in the city.
Numerous challenges contribute to higher rates of HIV infection among the black population. According to studies, a lack of awareness, coupled with stigma and discrimination, fear, homophobia and socioeconomic issues associated with poverty – including limited access to high-quality health care, housing and HIV prevention education – increase a person’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV.
The National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event is hosted by Diverse & Resilient, in partnership with MHD, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, W.I.N.G.S. International, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Health Service, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Outreach Community Health Centers and many more.
Confidential HIV & STI testing is also available weekdays at the City of Milwaukee Health Department Keenan Health Center (3200 N. 36th St.). Visit Milwaukee.gov/health for more information.