February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Get a free rapid HIV test at Legacy Beaumont this Friday or at Legacy Montrose or Legacy Southwest this Saturday to be entered for a chance to win $100.
By Barrett White
February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day to help stop HIV stigma and increase HIV prevention, testing, and treatment in Black communities. In observance of this day, Legacy is offering the chance to win $100 for those who receive a free HIV test in Beaumont (450 N. 11th Street) on Friday, February 5 (by appointment only) or at Legacy Montrose (1415 California Street) and Legacy Southwest (6441 High Star Drive) on Saturday, February 6 (no appointment needed).
Black communities made up the majority of new HIV cases in Harris County and Beaumont last year. The importance of equitable HIV outreach in Black and Brown communities cannot be understated. This is why, on this day and every day, Legacy works in the communities most impacted by HIV to connect those at risk to PrEP, and those living with HIV to ART.
“The disproportionate impact of HIV in Black communities is one of the greatest health inequities today,” says Jennifer Hadayia, Senior Director of Public Health at Legacy. “Legacy has been working in and with Black communities for years to increase their access to HIV prevention and care services. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day reminds us of the importance of this work.”
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a pill that when taken as directed on a daily basis, will prevent someone who does not have HIV from contracting HIV by up to 98%, per the CDC.
ART, or antiretroviral therapy, is medication that works to reduce the HIV viral load in the body to a “suppressed” level – meaning that the virus is virtually impossible to transmit to another person. If a person living with HIV is able to remain on ART and keep their viral load suppressed, they can help prevent new HIV infection.
“For most patients, Legacy can start them on PrEP or HIV treatment in a single day,” Hadayia continues. “HIV prevention and care are more accessible now than ever before, and Black communities deserve access to these life-affirming options”
According to the CDC, the nationwide statistics mirror those here in Harris County and Beaumont. Black Americans comprise 43% of new HIV infections across the U.S., but only 13% of the population. Black gay/bisexual men bear the heaviest burden among both the African American and the overall population. However, over the time period 2010 to 2016, HIV diagnoses decreased 12% among Black Americans – which is a step in the right direction.
The first step, however, is getting tested and knowing your status. Legacy offers free HIV testing to those who need it. So let your loved ones know that we’re in this together – get tested and know your status today.
To make an appointment for Legacy Beaumont, call us today at (409) 242-2613.