WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - February 7 is National Black HIV Awareness Day. This day was first recognized in 1999 to bring awareness to HIV education, treatment and testing in black communities.
The Go Care Community Health Care Center in West Monroe offers testing year round. Friday, they offered special refreshments to patients to honor the day.
Go Care offers primary healthcare services centered around the LGBTQ community. Officials at the center said that the country has come a long way in treating HIV.
"Whether it's pep, or prep, because of these preventative measures that we're doing on a consistent basis, we're seeing a decrease in this diagnosis," said Deedee Wednesday, Director of Supportive Services.
PrEP is a daily pill used to help prevent HIV. PEP is a post-exposure medication to help prevent HIV within 72 hours. Both medications are offered as options at the Go Care center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV diagnoses have fallen among black women by 25% from 2010 to 2016, and heterosexual men by 26%. Diagnoses among young black gay and bisexual men between ages 13 to 24 have decreased by 5%.
Previous statistics have shown that African Americans have been disproportionately diagnosed with HIV. In 2017, the CDC reports that nearly 17,000 African Americans received a new HIV diagnosis. This accounted for 43% of all HIV diagnoses in the United States at the time. Although African Americans only made up 13% of the population.
This year’s theme on this day of observance is, “We’re In This, Together.”
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 to 64 get tested for HIV regularly.
To find a testing site near you, visit Get Tested , text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.