Super Bowl Sunday also National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Super Bowl Sunday overshadowed an important day that even some Black people didn't know about: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness.

The number of Black people infected by this virus each year is staggering. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, but 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses, according to the CDC.

When it comes to gay or bisexual men, Black men are at the highest risk. For heterosexuals, Black women are most at risk.

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Dr. Ciara Zachary, an assistant professor in Health Policy Management at UNC Gillings School of Public Health, said the issue, especially in the South, is lack of awareness and access to treatment and testing -- as well as stigma and shame.

"The reason we have Black awareness day for HIV AIDS yesterday is to remove the stigma that many people face," Zachary said. "Just culturally and thinking that maybe they are not vulnerable or susceptible to contracting HIV AIDS. I think as more education and opportunities bring up the need for testing and prevention and getting services, I think we will see a difference in the numbers."

According to the state health department, more than 34,000 North Carolinians of all backgrounds live with HIV.

An estimated 4,000 more don't know they have it.

Check out this link for information on testing and treatment.
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