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Spreading Awareness on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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by Tony Hobday

On the East Coast, Renata Simone, producer, writer and director of "Endgame: AIDS in Black America" will be in Cambridge, Massachusetts to introduce the film during an open screening and community panel on Feb. 7 at the Whittier Street Health Center, 4-7 p.m..

Simone hopes the film will spark an open dialogue at a talkback session following the screening. The documentary features personal stories and interviews from HIV-positive individuals who come from Black communities across the country. Simone interweaves the roles of prejudice, stigma, drugs and prostitution in contributing to the spread of HIV in the Black communities of America.

And in Boston, CDC-trained epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick will lead a free luncheon presentation of "Endgame," in which she is featured, at 1 p.m. at AIDS Action Committee, 75 Amory St., Jamaica Plain.

"African Americans and other Black populations are disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS," said Rebecca Haag, President & CEO of AIDS Action Committee. "That disparity among infections also exists in Massachusetts, where Blacks make up only six percent of the state population, but comprise 29 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS."

AIDS Action Committee Educator Larry Day will also lead a free panel, "Coming Out of the Dark: Embracing the Invisible Black Man." The discussion will look at outreach strategies to Black MSM. Featured speakers include Cambridge City Council Ken Reeves, Lonnie McAddo from the Department of Public Health, Erlinda Bodden from Cambridge Health Alliance and Tom Bardwell from the Center for Social Innovation and Mass. Commission on GLBT Youth. It will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Cambridge Community Television Studios, 438 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.

In New York City, GMHC and Iris House have teamed up for Just for Us, the only program to increase testing of Chlamydia and gonorrhea for lesbians, bisexual women and women who have sex with women.

"Our Just for Us program aims to bring awareness of the unique risk factors of lesbians, bisexual women and WSW in an effort to ensure more women know their HIV and STI status, practice safer sex and have access to resources and education available in our community," said Iris House Executive Director Ingrid Floyd. "The collaboration with GMHC increases our capacity to serve this population and better leverages our joint resources."

And across the bridge, Brooklyn Men (K)onnect will host "Testing Together," a groundbreaking new HIV testing and counseling service for male couples/sexual partners in a safe, neutral environment that affirms their relationship. Testing is by appointment only at the BMK Center, 145-147 Utica Ave. near Prospect Place. For more info, email

And in New Jersey, the night heats up with Love vs. Lust, a spoken word and drag event featuring performances by Byanca, Michelle and Jo-Elle. The event, presented by Living Out Loud, will happen at 5 p.m. at the Hudson Pride Center, 32 Jones St. in Jersey City.

On the Internet, internationally recognized photographer and AIDS activist Duane Cramer, in partnership with Merck and Mundo Guerra of "Project Runway," is helping with launching the I Design Project campaign, which incorporates an interactive app for people living with HIV and health care providers.

"As a person who has lived with HIV for a long time, I’ve learned that self-expression is incredibly important, especially when it comes to working with my doctor on a treatment plan," said Cramer in a press release. "I am thrilled to join Merck and Mondo on the I Design campaign, and look forward to helping people living with HIV understand the importance of an open and ongoing dialogue with their healthcare provider to manage this chronic disease."

Events to commemorate NBHAAD are planned in all but 12 states. To find NBHAAD events in your area, visit or


  • Caleb Burgess, 2013-02-07 18:15:20

    Why dose it have to be black HIV an AIDs awareness? Why so much notice on a race? Its not like its just one type of person to get the virus... shouldnt it just be HIV/AIDs awareness day? There really needs stop bein so much label an moveing towards one side... forget gay or straight an forget black an white... its people an people

  • BOB KELLERMAN, 2013-02-07 19:35:22

    @Baxcel -- you perfectly illustrate the need for "Black AIDS Awareness". After reading the article, you still want to pretend that the HIV situation is not different in the Black community. This is not blame or criticism, it is FACING THE TRUTH, so things can be made better. I understand that facing truth, post-slavery, is still hard, but it is causing deaths to keep pretending.

  • Anonymous, 2013-02-11 13:36:53

    There are several HIV/AIDS Awareness days throughout the year, each promoting testing and awareness within specific communities hit especially hard by the epidemic. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - Feb 7 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10 National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 20 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day - May 18 National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - May 19 Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - June 8 National HIV Testing Day - June 27 National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day - September 18 National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - September 27 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day - October 15 World AIDS Day - December 1

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