Michigan's Third Annual Black AIDS Awareness Campaign

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In an effort to improve the overall health of all Michigan residents, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is debuting its third annual Black AIDS Awareness Campaign in February.

"We cannot ignore that the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS is on African Americans," said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General. "This campaign highlights the importance of prevention and the need for those at risk to get tested."

The campaign begins February 1, continues through March 18, and includes the Seventh Annual Observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day on February 7, the Second Annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, and the 18th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS March 4 through 10.

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MDCH data clearly illustrates the impact of AIDS on African Americans. While representing only 14 percent of Michigan's general population, 58 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS are African American.

The rate of persons living with HIV infection is almost nine times higher among African Americans than among whites in Michigan. MDCH estimates that 1 in 100 African American males and 1 in 260 African American women in Michigan may be infected with HIV with the Detroit Metro Area housing 64 percent of those HIV positive while representing only 45 percent of the general population. As of October 1, 2006, the city of Detroit has an estimated prevalence rate of 6,890 per 100,000.

"Michigan has had two very successful campaigns involving many community-based agencies and local health departments, and we are hoping to build on that success," said Loretta Davis-Satterla, Director of MDCH's Division of Health, Wellness, and Disease Control. "By combining education and awareness, we hope to curb the rising epidemic within the African American community."

Events are planned across Michigan to raise awareness and promote HIV testing among Michigan residents. Panel discussions, speakers, rallies, community forums, health awareness fairs, and HIV counseling and testing are among the many events that are included in this campaign.

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