New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Black New Yorkers Remain Disproportionately Affected by HIV

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 7, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed February 7, to honor the vibrancy, resiliency, and diversity of Black and Indigenous people of color currently affected by HIV/AIDS. First established in 1999, this day recognizes the impacts of racism, prejudice, and racial inequities and how these harmful biases continue to contribute to various health disparities across America—specifically when it comes to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. This year's theme is "Engage, Educate, Empower: Uniting to End HIV/AIDS in Black Communities."

"Although we have made great strides in HIV prevention, education, and treatment, we still have more work to do to reduce HIV rates in the Black community and other communities of color, as they are still disproportionally affected by HIV due to systemic racism, discrimination, and mistrust in the health care system," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Today and every day, I encourage all New Yorkers to get tested as well as celebrate the courage and tenacity of New Yorkers who are living with HIV."

Even though the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in New York State has decreased by 42 percent from 2011 to 2022, disparities still exist. Black and Indigenous communities of color are disproportionally impacted by HIV because of systemic inequities like racism, and a lack of access to consistent and high-quality healthcare, education, housing, and employment, among other challenges that stem from both poverty and systemic oppression.

In 2022, the rates of new HIV diagnoses among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic individuals were 7.6 and 4.8 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic White individuals. The prevalence rates of HIV among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic individuals were 7.7 and 4.1 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic White individuals.

As we move forward to End the Epidemic in New York State, the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute, responsible for statewide programming and activities related to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) and drug user health, continues its commitment to achieving health equity for all, regardless of skin color or HIV status and supports and promotes services that are responsive to the lived experiences, trauma, and stigma that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Additional information and resources for New Yorkers living with HIV can be found in the following documents:

The Department has a Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Assistance Program (PrEP-AP) to reimburse health care providers for the costs associated with providing health care and laboratory services associated with PrEP to uninsured or under-insured patients. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention method in which people who do not have HIV take a daily pill (HIV antiretroviral medication) to reduce their risk of becoming infected. Based on studies showing a significant reduction in HIV acquisition among HIV-negative persons who use PrEP and receive a package of prevention, care, and support services, the U.S. FDA approved combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for use as PrEP among sexually active adults at risk for HIV infection. PEP provides emergency protection after a possible exposure to HIV.

The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute offers free HIV self-testing kits to eligible individuals. Tests are also available at low or no cost in many healthcare settings across the state. Find a nearby site by visiting the CDC's Test Site Locator.

More information on the AIDS Institute can be found here.