I am pleased that HHS joins with others across the nation on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in a call to action against the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community.
Through the support of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Community Capacity Building Coalition and the National Minority AIDS Initiative, the observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is quickly gaining momentum throughout the country. And it's easy to see why.
African-Americans comprise just 12 percent of the population in the United States, yet account for an estimated 54 percent of all new HIV infections. Among African-Americans, gay and bisexual men, and young women are at greatest risk of HIV infection. In fact, CDC estimates that out of all new HIV infections in women, 64 percent are among African-American women. This disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on the African-American community is a critical element in improving the nation's public health, and cause for concern on the part of all Americans.
HHS is dedicated to continuing the fight against this terrible epidemic. In fiscal year 2003, the President's budget request for HHS dedicates $410 million aimed at reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS for racial and ethnic minorities, including:
· $123.2 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration, including $8 million for the Ryan White Minority AIDS Education and Training Centers at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities' Schools of Medicine, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges;
· $116 million for the CDC to support community-based and other HIV prevention programs for communities of color;
· $105 million to expand treatment and services under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and
· $66 million for specific activities and programs under the department's interagency Minority Communities Fund.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is more than just about calling attention to illness. It underscores the urgent need for individuals and communities to mobilize against one of the world's most deadly diseases. To learn more about HIV/AIDS and its impact on African-Americans, visit our new Web site http://www.healthgap.omhrc.gov/hiv_aids.htm.