County health officials hope to reach African Americans in the Los Angeles community on Thursday, February 7 with a rally and human billboard to call attention to the devastating affects of HIV/AIDS on the black population.
The event will take place on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Leimert Park, 4395 Leimert Blvd. in Los Angeles. The rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the human billboard will assemble at 11 a.m.
Nationally, African Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet they make up half of all HIV and AIDS cases, marking the leading cause of death for this community.
In Los Angeles County, African Americans make up approximately 9 percent of the population, but account for 20 percent of all AIDS cases. Despite their relatively smaller number, African Americans have the highest case rate of any racial or ethnic group in Los Angeles County.
Economic factors, the stigma of homosexuality and AIDS, denial, inadequate information, and lack of healthcare access are all driving forces behind the alarming rise in HIV infections among African Americans, according to County officials.
The County of L.A., Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy provides HIV/AIDS care and treatment services, including medication, at more than 80 community medical clinics located throughout the County.
For more information on free HIV prevention, counseling, testing and treatment, call (800) 367-AIDS (2437) or visit www.hivla.org.