PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
Monday, February 6, 2017

Cathleen D. Bennett
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

2017 Theme: “I am my Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS.”

In an effort to encourage African American residents to protect themselves from HIV and promote awareness throughout the community, New Jersey Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett will join the New Jersey Human Development Corporation (NJHDC) to recognize February 7 as the 17th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day commemoration event will take place at The Great Hall and Community Center at Greater Mt. Zion AME Church, 42 Pennington Avenue in Trenton. Commissioner Bennett will speak at 10 a.m. The NJHDC is a non-profit organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church that provides communities with knowledge, skills and services to help prevent and control HIV.

“Although we have made great progress in reducing transmissions of HIV, residents are still becoming infected with a preventable disease,” Commissioner Bennett said. “Minority communities are disproportionately affected, and African American residents represent 50 percent of those currently living with HIV/AIDS in the state.”

There are approximately 37,300 people living with HIV in New Jersey. Minorities account for 79 percent of all cases in the state. Eighty-eight percent of pediatric cases living with HIV/AIDS are minorities.

While there is still work to be done to ensure everyone knows how to protect against HIV, significant progress has been made within the black community. African Americans are more likely than other races and ethnicities to report that they have been tested for HIV at least once: 68 percent versus 55 percent for Hispanics/Latinos and 37 percent for whites, based on data from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.

The New Jersey Department of Health supports testing and services for those living with HIV or at risk for the disease. Nearly 87,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered in the state last year at more than 150 locations. Approximately 6,600 HIV patients receive HIV-related medications through the New Jersey AIDS Drug Distribution Program annually.

Last year, the Department started a pilot Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program with counselors working to coordinate services in high-risk communities to help protect against HIV infection. PrEP is a way for individuals who are at substantial risk of acquiring HIV to prevent infection by taking a pill every day. Through state and federal funding, the program has now expanded to 24 PrEP counselors who work in HIV clinics, federally qualified health centers (FQHC), community-based organizations that serve gay and bisexual men, and other sites around the state.

For information on PrEP Counseling or HIV testing sites, visit https://nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/getting-tested/index.shtml or call 1- 800-624-2377. 

To learn more about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, visit https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/awareness/nbhaad_tycd.html.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 2/6/2017