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|February 7, 2012: Hastings Recognizes 13th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day|
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) issued the following statement in recognition of the 13th Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
"National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a continuing reminder of the impact that this disease has had on the African American community. With each passing year, we aim to educate more individuals about HIV/AIDS, get more individuals tested for HIV, and increase access to treatment to save more lives.
"Due to various health and socioeconomic disparities, African Americans remain more likely to become infected with HIV, be living with AIDS, and face HIV-related deaths than any other racial group. In particular, African American youth, women, and men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected. African American teenagers, ages 13-19, represent only 15 percent of U.S. teenagers, however, they account for 68 percent of new AIDS cases reported among teens. Furthermore, over two-thirds of women who become infected with HIV are African American.
"As a whole, approximately one in five individuals living with HIV in the United States is unaware of their infection. It is time that we break the cycle of infection and death. We must all take responsibility for our health and know our status. And as a community, we must look out for each other and make sure that individuals have the knowledge, resources, and support they need to stay healthy.
"In the 113th Congress, I vow to work with lawmakers, health care providers, faith leaders, and all members of the community to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. To this end, I will continue to support the Ryan White Program, AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), and the implementation of the National AIDS Strategy to create an AIDS-free generation. As long as there are still individuals living with this disease, the conversation about raising awareness, addressing stigma, and improving access to treatment and care must be a top priority."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.