Hastings’ Statement on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) issued the following statement in recognition of the 17th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
“Seventeen years ago, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was first observed in order to raise awareness about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on African Americans. Today, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day continues to serve as a valuable mobilization effort encouraging African Americans to be aware, be informed, and to get treated.
“Unfortunately, what was true last year and in years prior remains true today: HIV/AIDS affects African Americans more than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. While African Americans represent only 12 percent of the population, they account for almost 45 percent of new HIV diagnoses each year. Of those new diagnoses, an estimated 57 percent are gay or bisexual men, or men who have sex with men (MSM). And of that group, 39 percent are young men aged 13 to 24. Despite this harsh reality, I am committed to ending this pandemic once and for all.
“Thanks to medical advances, people are living longer and healthier lives, but there is still much to be done in order to meet our goal of zero new infections and zero new deaths. While various barriers exist to African Americans infected with HIV/AIDS, such as stigmas, equal access to healthcare and higher rates of poverty, we have the power to make an HIV/AIDS-free society.
“On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I pledge to continue working with my colleagues in Congress, healthcare providers, and community leaders to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.