CBCF Joins Forces to Combat HIV Stigma for World AIDS Day

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Conference Focuses on Ending Barrier to Treatment

This year marks 30 years after the first discovery of AIDS cases in the United States. While we have come a long way, much remains to be done to educate the public about HIV/AIDS.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) will join a coalition of HIV/AIDS activists and healthcare professionals at the third International Conference on Stigma: The Attitude that Spreads from 8:30AM – 4PM on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, at Howard University’s Blackburn Center Ballroom, 2400 Sixth Street, N.W.

The conference is free and open to the public. It will feature notable HIV & AIDS scientists and clinicians including Dr. Sohail Rana, a professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine; and Nick DeLuca, Ph.D, the Prevention Communication Branch Chief in the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The conference will offer candid discussions around such topics as “Youth,” “Faith Based Ministries – Challenges and Lessons Learned,” “Stigma in Immigrant Populations: African and Latino Perspectives,” and “Designing Peer Driven Disclosure Focused Intervention as a Means for Addressing and Reducing HIV Related Stigma.” The conference will also be webcast live. You can find it at http://www.cbcfinc.org.

Stigma remains a major barrier to HIV prevention and treatment. Those with the disease continue to suffer in silence and in fear of being shunned by their family, friends and community. “No one should hide in the shadows because of their medical condition. Everyone deserves equity of access to care that will prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. That is why this conference is so critically important because it calls attention to the devastating impact the disease is having in cities across the country and around the world."

According to the most recent CDC data, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV and AIDS in the United States. African Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, yet account for almost half of all new infections (45 percent) each year and half of all people living with HIV (46 percent). AIDS is the third leading cause of death for both African- American men and women aged 35–44. The harsh reality is that approximately 1 in 16 African-American men, as well as 1 in 32 African-American women, will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.

In 2009, CBCF joined 13 other longstanding African-American institutions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase HIV/AIDS-related awareness, knowledge, testing, and action as part of the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI).

“This year marks 30 years after the first discovery of AIDS cases in the United States. While we have come a long way, much remains to be done to educate the public about HIV/AIDS. It is important that people understand that diagnosis is not a death sentence,” said Dr. Majorie Innocent, Vice President of Research and Programs for CBCF.

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