MDCH Announces First Annual Black AIDS Awareness Campaign: Events Scheduled to Address AIDS Disparities

Contact: Beth Perrine (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

February 7, 2005

In an effort to better the overall health of all Michigan residents, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is rolling out its first annual Black AIDS Awareness Campaign.

This campaign includes today’s Fifth Annual Observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day and the 16th Annual Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS to be held March 6 to12.

“The disproportionate impact of AIDS on African Americans cannot be ignored,” said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. “Educating citizens with HIV/AIDS prevention works, and we hope this awareness campaign will educate and galvanize communities to address this serious health issue.”

Data from the Michigan Department of Community Health clearly illustrates the impact of AIDS on African Americans and the current health crisis that continues to devastate the Black community as a result.

“According to MDCH research, it is estimated that as many as one out of every 100 African American males and one out of every 280 African American females in Michigan are infected with HIV,” said Michigan Surgeon General, Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom.“While African Americans comprise 14 percent of Michigan’s population, they represent nearly 60 percent of the cases of individuals living with HIV and 57 percent of those living with AIDS.”

Events are being planned across Michigan to raise awareness and promote HIV testing among Michigan residents, especially African Americans. Panel discussions, speakers, rallies, community forums, teen summits, media discussions and articles, poster and essay contests, health awareness fairs, dinner programs, and HIV counseling and testing are among the many events that will kick off this campaign.

“If you are concerned about possible HIV infection, get tested.” Wisdom said. “Knowing the results can save lives – yours and those who could become infected.”

Activities will take place from February 1 to March 19 in many cities around the state. See the attached listing for events in your area. To find an HIV testing site in your area, or to obtain more information on the attached events, please call 1-800-872-AIDS.