Statement By NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous on World AIDS Day December 1, 2009

Washington—The NAACP stands united on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2009, in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.   The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988 to provide national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

HIV and AIDS have hit African Americans among the hardest, shattering families and destroying lives.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cite the reasons for the racial disparity as not just directly related to race, but rather to barriers faced by many African Americans. These barriers include poverty, sexually transmitted diseases, and social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

Even though Blacks account for about 13 percent of the US population, they are almost half (49 percent) of the people living with HIV and AIDS.  Blacks represent 51 percent of the 42, 655 (including children) new HIV/AIDS diagnoses and 48 percent of the 551,932 persons, including children, living with HIV. At the end of 2006, nearly one-third of all U.S. AIDS cases -- more than 300,000 -- were linked to intravenous drug use

The NAACP has fought for the civil and human rights of African Americans and others in this country for over one hundred years. Our organization is committed to making sure that our communities have access to quality health care and the information that can prevent AIDS and HIV from taking hold, by promoting testing, prevention, education, and advocacy around common sense initiatives such as syringe exchanges, among others.

We are a proud partner of the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.  The Association's branches, members and membership units including college chapters across this country are standing united in fostering outreach and coordinating community awareness events to educate our communities.

As the oldest and largest civil rights organization in this country, the NAACP will continue to stand as a leading voice in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.  We will work tirelessly to help save our precious future generations from this devastating disease.

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Click here to see what NAACP Branches and college chapters are doing to prevent HIV in their community.

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