February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day; Goal is Increased Education, Testing and Treatment

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein

Date February 6, 2015                              

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

 February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Goal is Increased Education, Testing and Treatment

ERIE COUNTY, NY—February 7th marks the 15th annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (‘NBHAAD’). This initiative is designed to increase human immunodeficiency virus (‘HIV’) education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities across the nation

Raising awareness of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (‘HIV/AIDS’) and encouraging action, such as HIV testing, is intended to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on blacks or African Americans in the United States.

“What many people do not realize is that compared with other races and ethnicities, blacks had the highest HIV incidence in 2010, with an estimated rate of 68.9 per 100,000 population.  This is nearly eight times the estimated rate of 8.7 per 100,000 population among whites[i],” states Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health (‘ECDOH’).

HIV testing is the first critical step in helping the estimated 74,000 blacks with undiagnosed HIV learn of their infection. Although blacks are more likely to get tested for HIV than any other racial/ethnic group, there is an urgent need to make sure that blacks who are living with HIV get an early diagnosis and receive timely, and ongoing medical care and treatment. 

Burstein continues: “Early diagnosis and treatment are important because effective HIV treatment can increase the number of people living with HIV who have the virus under control–allowing them to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others.”

ECDOH provides a sexually transmitted disease (‘STD’) clinic at the Jesse Nash Health Center, 608 William St., Buffalo. Their hours are: Monday through Thursday from 8:30 - 11:30 am and 1:00 - 3:00 pm; and on Fridays from 10:00 - 11:30 am and 1:00 - 3:00 pm. No appointment is necessary; patients are seen on first come, first serve basis only.

All STD testing and treatment is confidential.  No one is denied testing or treatment based on their ability to pay.  Anyone 12 years of age and older can utilize the STD clinic. Evaluation is provided for HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, pubic lice, scabies and other STD's. Treatment for certain diagnoses is provided.  The clinic also provides HIV counseling and testing, educational presentations to community groups, and educational material on sexually transmitted diseases.

In addition, the Clinic offers an HIV Partner Services program.  The program assists HIV infected individuals and their medical providers in identifying sexual and needle-sharing partners, including spouses, and confidentially notifying them of their possible exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

ECDOH STD Clinic                          (716) 858-7687

Information on HIV/STD Programs    (716) 858-7683

HIV/STD Educational Programs        (716) 858-8503

For more information:

Erie County Department of Health – http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=sexually-transmitted-disease-clinics

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day -- http://www.cdc.gov/features/blackhivaidsawareness

Center for Disease Control and Prevention -- http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/index.html

[1] CDC. Estimated HIV incidence in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV surveillance supplemental report, 2012. Vol. 17, No. 4. Available athttp://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/statistics_hssr_vol_17_no_4.pdf  .

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