Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement recognizing the 19th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
“Today marks the nineteenth anniversary of the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which highlights the importance of educating our nation about the disproportionate impact that HIV/AIDS has on the African American community. This day is an important opportunity to not only spread awareness about this alarming health disparity and the lack of accessible healthcare that perpetuates it, but also to promote crucial preventative measures such as getting tested regularly, knowing your status, and seeking treatment.
“HIV/AIDS affects African Americans more than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Out of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, over 470,000 of these people are African-American. In 2016, roughly 43 percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were reportedly given to African Americans, far surpassing rates of transmission among other racial populations in the United States.
“A culmination of many barriers - including disproportionately low access to affordable healthcare, higher rates of poverty and incarceration, and the stigma of seeking treatment - drive this health disparity. Although much progress has been made in understanding this disease and improving medical treatment, there is still much work to do to reduce the disproportionate impact that HIV/AIDS has on our Black communities.
“I remain committed to working with patients, advocates, researchers, healthcare providers, community leaders, and my colleagues in Congress to support the HIV/AIDS research, prevention and treatment effort and fight to end this health disparity within the Black community.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.