According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black people account for 44% of the new infections. As a way to educate blacks about the disease and promote testing, the nation recognized the annual Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7. Community organizations and groups gathered to share information with the community about the disease, the importance of early testing and safe sex practices.
In Rock Hill, Catawba Care hosted an annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event in observation of the national initiative to encourage Blacks to “get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated” (CatawbaCare.org). This year’s free event featured food, door prizes, entertainment, health screenings and HIV testing for the Rock Hill and surrounding area communities.
Catawba Care serves a little over 500 patients, the executive director Anita Case, LMSW said.
Case explained the importance to get tested regularly.
The earlier individuals are tested, the more likely they are to live a healthy life, she said.
The event featured various community organizations who shared educational information to the attendees. One of the organizations attending the event was StatusBoiz, in collaboration with StatusGurlz, is an organization that provides “HIV prevention and education program in North and South Carolina for Black men and Transgender Women.” The organization’s goal is “to work together to find effective ways to HIV prevention” (StatusBoiz.com).
The project director Darrin Johnson said their main purpose is to reduce the infection rates in the community. This is similar to Catawba Care’s purpose, who the organization has partnered with in the past.
Back in July, Always PHREA featured Catawba Care Prevention Specialist Alton Murray, who is one of the planners of the program, held last Saturday.
Murray explained during his PHREAdom Leader interview that the reality is people are having sex which makes safe sex education necessary. Therefore, it is important to reach out into the community and educate black people.