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While Blacks represent approximately 13% of the U.S. population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the group accounts for 49% of the nation’s AIDS cases. In 2006, both Black men and women had the highest HIV death rates per 100,000 (ages 25-34 & 35-44). Also, HIV was the fourth leading cause of death for Black men and third leading cause of death for Black women (ages 25-44). Unfortunately, many of those who are infected with HIV are unaware of their status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. It’s time to mobilize and talk about this devastating disease so we can make a difference… and there’s no better time than February 7th! On this commemorative day, Blacks are encouraged to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated around HIV/AIDS. Special events such as press conferences, town hall meetings, church services, community marches & rallies, candlelight vigils, and free HIV testing will be held throughout the nation.
 
In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the local Rockford BASUAH Initiative (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) will host its 3rd annual “SHOUT-OUT TO END AIDS: Destroying the Stigma - Uniting the Community” - an HIV/AIDS awareness and testing event on Saturday, February 6, 2010.
 
The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at Ellis Arts Academy, 222 S. Central Avenue, Rockford, Illinois, with events including: an open house, 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. featuring free HIV screening by Crusader Community Health & the Total Health Awareness Team, community information booths, refreshments and more.
And a community showcase, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. featuring performances by the Rockford College Vocal Collective, Praise Dance performances by “The Unspoken Voices of Praise” from Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, “Daughters of Praise” from Liberty Baptist Church, and the community-wide praise dance group “Proverbs 31.” Other entertainment includes performances by the Rock City Unique Steppers and a spoken word performance
by local poet & artist Christopher D. Sims.
 
It is time for our people, from all levels and walks of life to fix our eyes on the horizon and carry forth the gift of freedom by raising awareness and visibility of HIV/AIDS in Black communities; locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.” says LaMont “Montee” Evans, of Healthy Black Communities, Inc, lead organization and a member of the NBHAAD Strategic Leadership Council.
 
Several Black celebrities and community leaders have served as the face and voice of this huge effort while encouraging thousands of Black communities to mobilize and do something that will be long-lasting in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Currently, NBHAAD is directed, planned and organized by a group known as the Strategic Leadership Council who partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mobilize communities and address specific issues in regards to local epidemics.  
 
For more information regarding the event contact Mark Hunter, Winnebago County Health Department Black
Male Health Coordinator at (815) 720-4268. For more information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, visit
www.blackaidsday.org.
 
The local  BASUAH HIV/AIDS Initiative includes partners from: Winnebago County Health Department,  Crusader Community Health , Black Male Health Community Action Team, Black Healthcare Initiative Coalition, Rockford Health Council, City of Rockford, Rock River Training, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Allen Chapel AME Church, Miles Memorial CME Church, Liberty Baptist Church, National Council of Negro Women, Diversity of Rockford,
Total Health Awareness Team, Ellis Heights Weed and Seed, Living Word Light of the World Ministries Int’l, Ellis Heights Weed and Seed, Stand Against Cancer, Young Life, and the Rockford Public Library, Montague Branch.
 
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