When another national AIDS day is not enough!

World AIDS Day has been acknowledged and celebrated every year since 1988. This global event is meant to bring people together from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world. Outside of World AIDS Day, there are several other opportunities to shine a light on the pandemic the HIV/AIDS crisis has become. There is the National HIV Testing Day, Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and these are just a few among the several other national spotlights used to educate, inform and highlight the devastation of this disease. These national and international days of observation and reflection are important because they highlight the significant improvements in preventive care, education, awareness and treatment which has encouraged a decrease in infection rates and an increase in the lifespan of people with HIV/AIDS. And as a result, there has been improvement in the Global AIDS epidemic. The infection rates in some countries have decreased according to an article on allAfrica.com. “Globally, new HIV infections fell to 2.5 million last year from 2.6 million in 2010 and represented a 20-percent drop from 2001, according to UNAIDS.” Yet, the infection rate still continues to grow in certain communities. The CDC reports that, “The number of people living with HIV infection in the United States (HIV prevalence) is higher than ever before.” As we progress, we also remain the same and in some incidence, we are getting worse. Many are still not hearing the PSAs, reading the brochures or watching the tv specials or documentaries. Gay men or men who have sex with men (MSM), specifically black, white and Latino men, are still among the highest inflected. Especially, young black gay men, who are hit the hardest by new HIV-infection rates as noted in a recent NewsOne.com article. “Overall, an estimated 12,200 new HIV infections occurred in 2010 among young people aged 13-24, with young gay and bisexual men and African Americans hit harder by HIV than their peers, the report shows.” In addition, young people overall are also among the hardest hit according to a feature on the PBS News Hour. “Of the 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year, more than one in four affect young people ages 13 to 24, more than half of whom don’t know they’re infected.”

We are failing in our messaging, prevention efforts and education to our youth. The information is not getting out and therefore, folks are not getting tested and into treatment. According to thinkprogess.org, “The CDC report recommends increasing education programs for youth that emphasize HIV prevention, a discrepancy that is currently furthered by abstinence-only curricula in schools across the country. Just 20 states mandate that public schools must provide both HIV education and sexual education in their health classes, and only 12 states have standards in place to require medically accurate information about HIV in the classrooms.”

There are things we can all to do to make sure the progress we are making is felt all around. As individuals, we can change how we communicate to our children, family and friends about safe sex and HIV. As community leaders, advocates and nonprofits, we can engage in a multi-tier plan that includes partnerships with city, state and federal agencies to push the President’s National AIDS Action Plan into action, work collaboratively with churches across the country, specifically Black churches and mandate safe sex education in all middle and high schools in the US. Lastly, addressing issues around stigma and fear while pushing for HIV testing in ER rooms and for annual physical exams. These are a few steps that help us all get a little closer to an end for HIV/AIDS. So, let’s continue to observe World AIDS Day and every other national and international day that highlights the devastation of this disease and encourages prevention, care and treatment. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day observation is “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” With each step we all take, we can get a little closer to that goal!

You got a kid in college, have you had “the” talk yet! What are you waiting for?

The holidays are finally over and we are well into the New Year! If you have a kid in high school or college, they’re probably returned to school. But while they were home did you take the time to talk to them in between the holiday shopping, family gatherings and all that food. You might think that since you have a child in college or in their final year of high school, you don’t have to talk to them about sex, BUT you do! Among teenagers, “only about one in five sexually active high school students has ever been tested for HIV, CDC researchers reported.” Teens and young adults are more than likely to practice unsafe sex (sex without a condom) and to have multiple sex partners. According to a report by the CDC, “young people aged 13-29 accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections in 2009. With regard to youth, HIV disportionately affects gay and bisexual men and young African Americans.”

With the numbers still climbing in HIV/STD infections mostly among youth, I started to think how many of my friends who have children that started their first year of college or entering their finally year of high school had the “sex” talk with their child. How many college freshmen went back to school with safe sex materials and condoms packed neatly among their care packages of cup of noodles, tuna fish and cookies. How many senior high school students started the New Year with a discussion on how to negiotate sex with their partner. These discussions are even more important for young women, who have the potential of being in a verbally or physically abusive relationship and are coerced into group sex. According to a recent article in the New York Daily News, “More than 7% of teen girls have engaged in multi-person sex, a new study reports – and half of them said they were threatened or forced into the act.” “For us, the most worrisome thing is that in 45 percent of the girls’ most recent MPS experience, at least one male had not used a condom,” Rothman said. “That’s a really high rate.”

Most schools are not prepared to address domestic violence much less are in the business of teaching safe sex education. The article later notes,“We need to find out more about how prevalent this is, because we need to get better information into the hands of parents, pediatricians and schools,” she said. “People need to know about what’s happening. And then be prepared to provide education and counseling.” Providing education and counseling is crucial for our youth, but more so for our young women. According to the report “AIDS at 30: Nations at the crossroads”, gender inequalities remain a major barrier to effective HIV response. ”HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age, and more than a quarter (26 percent) of all new global HIV infections are among young women aged 15-24,” it said.

The report also said that apart from women, HIV prevalence among homosexuals, people who inject drugs, sex workers and their clients and transgender people are higher than among other population.

With all the things you have to worry about including paying bills and making sure you have a roof over your head, you have to learn how to talk to your kid about not only having sex but also practicing safe sex. Teens are having sex at an earlier age and they are less prepared to handle the consequence of their actions. We can no longer hide our head in the sand and hope they figure this out on their own because statistics show they are not doing that. According to CDC’s 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), “many adolescents begin having sexual intercourse at early ages: 46.0% of high school students have had sexual intercourse, and 5.9% reported first sexual intercourse before the age of 13. Of the 34.2% of students reporting sexual intercourse during the 3 months before the survey, 38.9% did not use a condom. And if young people are not practicing safe sex, they are more like to be infected with a sexualy transmitted disease (STD), which is a risk fact for HIV.” The CDC has estimated that young people account for up to half of the nation’s 19 million new STI infections each year. These rates are even higher among minority youths.  In regards to youth of color, many have older partners, which means young people are even more likely to be exposed to HIV and STIs. Compared with black and Latina peers whose first sex occurred with a male of their own age, young women whose partner was older were significantly less likely to use condoms during first sex, and to have used them consistently since becoming sexually active. Some factors that contribute to the high infection of HIV/STDs among young of color, specifically African American youth, are racism and its connection to underemployment and unemployment, decreased access to medical care, and  incarceration according to an article written by Jennifer Augustine and Emily Bridges, “Young People and HIV: A Realistic Approach to Prevention.” They further state, For young people of color who become sexually active, the deck is stacked against them in terms of maintaining their sexual health. HIV prevention efforts, which teach healthier behaviors like using condoms, are still vital, but are only a part of a successful prevention strategy. Addressing other factors which contribute to the spread of HIV is important.”

So, as a parent, guardian, sibling or concerned friend or family member what can you do to help encourage healthier behaviors towards sex.

  • Talk to children before they hit their teens helps them to develop a healthy and responsible view on sex. Be open to a dialogue and respect their opinions.
  • Teach them to respect and love themselves and nurture their self -esteem. A person’s healthy self-esteem goes a long way in developing good decision-making skills.
  • Let them know there is nothing wrong with waiting to have sex but if they decide differently or are already having sex then its is crucial that they practice safe sex. No one likes to think that his or her child, sibling or younger relative is having sex but it happens.
  • Share positive messages about sexuality and the healthy role it can play in our lives.
  • Find teachable moments when discussions about sexuality fit naturally into everyday conversation.
  • Spend quality time with your child and get to know their friends and partners.

Dealing with issues around sex and sexuality with a young person can be overwhelming but there are resources and organizations available to help. The CDC provides a wealth of information on risky sexual behavior as well as the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has created several reports and studies on HIV & Youth. There are also a number of organizations across the country that address the increasing HIV rates among youth, such as Advocates for Youth and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition and among young women of color there is Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Collaborative , Iris House and SisterLove. In addition, there are several national HIV/AIDS organizatons that address issues around youth, sex and HIV, such as the The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Latino Commission on AIDS, and the National Minority AIDS Coalition. All the above-mentioned resources and organizations also address HIV among young gay and bisexual men, but there are specific places to go to such as the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Last year, Clutch Magazine published the article, 10 Black Women Teaching Us About Sex, which provided a wealth of information, food for thought and good ole’ fashion advice. Lastly, if you can’t find or make use of any of the above-mentioned resources, start a safe sex education group or HIV/AIDS ministry in your church. The Balm in Gilead, develops educational and training programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of African American and African congregations that strive to become community centers for health education and disease prevention. They can work with your Pastor and church to provide the necessary tools, support and resources to create an effective program.

Getting your kids off to a healthy start in life is not just your responsibility but that of the entire community but the first step starts with you. Have that talk, what are you waiting for?

More than just a day – Observing World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, observed December 1st each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements. (from wikipedia)

Millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year. In low- and middle-income countries, less than half of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are receiving it, and too many do not have access to adequate care services.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS.1 Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35. (From avert.org website)

New York Faith in Action has a listing of  World AIDS Day events throughout New York City.  There is also a website that provides information about the World AIDS Campaign and list events happening around the world. Feel free to post an event that is happening in your city, town or neighborhood. I encourage you to join with the community in leadership and solidarity and help promote universal access, human dignity and respect and protect the human rights of people living with or affected by HIV

Let’s remember our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are affected by HIV and AIDS. Listed below are a few events happening in and around New York City.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 – 3:30pm to 6:00pm

“HIV” My Family and Me: Putting the Focus on Youth in AIDS Affected Families

Book Reading and Signing of “Living in the Shadows” by Yannik McKie

Community Church of New York

40 East 35 Street New York, NY


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 – 12:30pm to 8:30pm

Brooklyn Public Library and CAMBA,

Central Library, Dweck Center Auditorium & Lobby

10 Grand Army Plaza

1:30 – 3:45pm: Awareness Café (Information & Resources)

4 -5:30pm: Afterschool Workshops & Presentations

5:30 – 8pm: “An Evening of Awareness, Remembrance, and Inspiration”

HIV Testing – free & confidential, same day results (all day)

For more information contact the Library at 718-230-2477


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 – 8:30am to 4pm

Harlem > AIDS: World AIDS Day Conference,

Riverside Church, Global AIDS Ministry

91 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY 10027


Safer Sex/ Sex-Toy demonstration

Community Mobilization workshops and more

Free Rapid HIV Testing & STI Screenings

Screening of “Sex In An Epidemic” Documentary

Free Breakfast & Lunch

There is limited capacity for this event so please RSVP to rjabouin@harlemunited.org or jpadilla@irishouse.org

by Wednesday, November 24th, if you are able to attend.

Sponsored by The Black AIDS Institute, Iris House, GMHC & Harlem United


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 – 5:30pm to 7:45pm

East Kings County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Social Action Committee presents World AIDS Day Event

Featuring the documentary, “Seen, But Not Heard” with filmmaker and panel discussion

Dekalb Library

790 Bushwick Avenue , Brooklyn, NY


Thursday December 2nd, 2010 – 6 pm to 8pm

Looking at HIV Through Your Eyes: A Honest Discussion about Teen Sexual Health, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

395 Lenox Road between

E.34th Street and New York Avenue PRESENTED BY:

The Adolescent Education Program

Teens Helping Each Other (THEO) / Peer Leadership Initiative


Saturday, December 4th, 2010 – 6pm to 11pm

National Ballroom Initiative,

Sanders Studio

525 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn,

Program also serving as a Health Fair, sponsored by HEAT and GMAD.

For more information contact Tina Jones at 718-282-1880


NYC World AIDS Day – Week of Events

November 28 – December 8


Newark, NJ World AIDS Day – Week of Events

Essex County College

November 29 – December 2

Bishop Long, AIDS and bad behavior

Although, it’s almost a dead issue in terms of the media, the Bishop Eddie Long case, was and still is an important issue. As the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, he was accused of allegedly using his position and power as well as his role as a father figure to pursue sexual relationships with younger men in his congregations. Beyond the spectacle of the scandal, there were several underlying issues that weren’t addressed in the media. For weeks, I read article after article following all the positions as the allegations played out on the radio and television. It’s well known that Bishop Long used his position to demonize homosexuality, the very thing he was being accused of. As stated by crunktastic in the article, The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Sex and Power in the Black Church, “What Long has been accused of doing isn’t about sex. It’s about power, as sexual abuse generally is.” He used role as a pastor to stigmatize and demoralize others, some who may be his own parishioners. Abusing his power as a religious leader and father figure. In a Clutch Magazine article, Zettler Clay writes, “A pastor is a pastor because enough people have been convinced that he/she has divine knowledge that eludes the majority of the congregation. When power is enforced under this criteria, potential for abuse and disillusionment is present. The scandals of malpractice, negligence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, you name it, has run rampant as long as these relationships have been around.”

Bishop Long is not the first religious figure to abuse his power and unfortunately won’t be the last. In all of the misfortune, accusations and confusion this case created, it also brought to surface some very serious issues long ignored by the Black Church. Issues around the role the church plays in promoting and encouraging homophobia, its lack of leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the role the clergy plays in the abuse of power.  Of course, the abuse of power doesn’t solely exist in the Black Church but it’s significant in terms of its connection to homophobia and HIV. For the first decade and a half, the Black church was absent or barely present in the fight against AIDS. In addition, as seen with the sermons of Bishop Long, the persecution of gays and homosexuality alienated many who went to church for the comfort and security they needed. If one was gay and HIV+, there was no place for you at your home church. A clear case of the disconnect between the church and the community at large. The Black Church is feeding the hungry, sending students to college and building affordable homes, but still alienating and ignoring members of its congregation. In the article, In the Wake of Eddie Long-What’s the State of the Black Church?, Davey Day says “We could go on and on listing examples of where Black churches have stepped up to walk the walk and back up the talk. With all that being said, those of us who are members of a church still have to grapple with the challenging questions before us; ‘Is there a disconnect between the Black church and its aforementioned good works and the community at large?’ If so how and why is that happening?”

How do we begin the process of healing and end the scapegoating. Well, despite the role the church has played in building a history of intolerance and fear. The actions and behavior of Bishop Long lies solely with him. We can’t just blame the Black church, it’s leadership, “Down Low” men or the Black media’s lack of response to the AIDS crisis. There is a responsibility that each and everyone of us must take. What the Bishop Long case should do, is encourage us all to evaluate ourselves and our role in encouraging bad behavior. As Davey D stated in the above mentioned article, “It should inspire us to do some serious self examination. This should be the case if you’re a member of a congregation and it should be the case for the entire body. Self examination should be a constant endeavor.”

In a speech to Essex County College on World AIDS Day 2010, former Congressional candidate and author Kevin Powell said, “We need to stop scapegoating each other. HIV and AIDS is not about “Down Low” men or any other person or group, its simple about bad behavior.

When Bishop Long allegedly used his influence, wealth and power to seduce those young men, it was less of an issue of a possible being gay man on the “Down Low” but a man who was behaving irresponsible. A man who was using his position to get and do what he wanted. When we encourage someone we love to not practice safe sex, that’s bad behavior. When we have sex with someone knowing that we are infected with a STD or HIV, that’s bad behavior. When we don’t use a condom, take regular HIV tests or talk to our partners about having a healthy sex life, that’s bad behavior.

We must move beyond the divide and conquer of blaming “Down Low” brothers for AIDS in our community or playing to people’s shame and insecurities so much that they are afraid to come out to their church community, forcing folks to hide who they are. The church must open its doors to those who are HIV+ by having safe spaces and providing needed services to those infected and affected by HIV. We must figure out how to talk about sex and sexual relationships in an open and honest way in the church. We can change the dynamics of the church, where we empower parishioners to play an active role in the improvement of their lives and sexual health.

As we move into a new year, we must consider the consequences of our individual bad behavior and lack of responsibility. And make a commitment to be more accountable to our loved ones and those who come to us for strength, understanding and compassion. With the added stress of joblessness, unemployment and underemployment, the lack of proper healthcare, limited affordable housing and the increase of foreclosures, we should at least be able to find comfort and honesty in those we trust the most. And if not, as individuals, we can no longer follow blindly. There are no more excuses not to question anyone or accept any behavior that we suspect is bad. We must standup for our own truth. And if someone is behaving badly against us, then we must have the courage and strength to move on and know we are okay for it. Bad behavior can no longer be acceptable or tolerated. Too many lives are at risk to think its okay to behave badly.

World AIDS Day 2013

Every year since 1988, we have paused on December 1st to remember our loved ones, recognize those doing amazing work around us, and recommit ourselves to ending this pandemic.

This year’s theme is Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation

HIV is still presenting huge challenges:

  • The CDC estimates that there are 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV, and that nearly one in five are not aware that they’re infected.
  • Only 33% of those living with HIV are currently receiving treatment.
  • Comparing 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections among black women decreased 21 percent, from 7,700 in 2008 to 6,100 in 2010. While this decline is encouraging, black women continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of other races/ethnicities and account for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all new infections among women.
  • African American and Hispanic/Latino populations continue to have higher rates of HIV infections than whites, in part due to a number of social and economic challenges, such as lack of access to care, discrimination, stigma, homophobia and poverty.

Housing Works, GMHC, ACTUP and members of New York’s HIV/AIDS community came together on the 25th commemoration of World AIDS Day in Times Square, by declaring that now is the time to end AIDS as an epidemic here in New York State.

  • New York State has borne the highest US burden of the HIV since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic 1981.
  • New York State has also been the center of activist, community, government and scientific innovation and collaboration in responding to the AIDS pandemic.
  • New York State has the people, institutions, resources and political will to end our AIDS epidemic and to become a leader nationally and globally in showing how to end AIDS.

It is indeed a shared responsibility: while the virus knows no race, gender, nationality or sexuality barrier, the way we interact with and treat each other is key to prevention.

It’s time for us to join together to fight both HIV itself and the rampant ignorance, intolerance, and apathy surrounding this disease.

Its just not another day, World AIDS Day 2011

World AIDS Day still matters because:

  • About 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the US but about 240,000 don’t know they are infected.
  • And worldwide there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children, according to UNAIDS estimates.
  • AIDS is the #1 killer of black woman 25-44
  • HIV infection rates have risen to nearly 50% among Black gay and bi-sexual men in the United States.
  • 16% of people with HIV were between 13 and 24 years old

The theme for World AIDS Day this year is ” Getting to Zero,” which was developed by the World AIDS Campaign and supported by the United Nations. The “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and focuses on the foals of zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Significant process has been achieved in the 30 years we’ve responded to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Yet, new infections continue to occur annually and only one-third of people in need of treatment are receiving it.

Below is a listing of World AIDS Day observances in your area. Please share the information with your congregation, family members and friends and encourage them to attend and support the communities’ collective response to “Getting to Zero.”

For more information about World AIDS Day, visit: http://www.worldaidsday.org/

For more information about World AIDS Day in NYC, visit: http://manhattan.about.com/od/glbtscene/a/world_aids_day_new_york.htm

To find a HIV Test in your area visit: http://www.greaterthan.org/get-tested/find-a-testing-center-near-you/

AIDS Organizations










National HIV Testing Day!

Monday is National HIV Testing Day

PictureNational HIV Testing Day (NHTD), Monday, June 27, is an annual observance to promote HIV testing. The National Association of People with AIDS(NAPWA) founded the day in 1995 and continues to be the lead for this observance.

This year National HIV Testing Day falls between two major dates:

• June 5, 2011 – 30 years since the CDC’s MMWRreported the first cases of AIDS; and,
• July 13, 2011 – the one year anniversary of the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

This is a particularly important time for YOU to get involved! Take the Test, Take Control.

Use this link to find the HIV testing site nearest to you.

Visit AIDS United’s blog on Monday to read blogs from staff about the importance of NHTD.

Hip Hop, Youth Culture and AIDS

Part 1 on a series of blogs on Hip Hop and AIDS

From time to time, I have the opportunity to work with middle and high school students. One morning, as I entered my video class, I heard one young woman singing a line from the Rick Ross song, Aston Martin Music.I love a nasty girl who swallow what’s on the menu.” It doesn’t take a genius to know what he meant or to realize the connection a young woman makes when she hears and repeats the same lyrics. The recent criticism of Ashley Judd around her comments about hip-hop and rap music reminded me of that surreal moment. In her recent memoirs, she criticized YouthAIDS, an organization she has supported, for public service announcements they made with the rappers, Snopp Dogg and Diddy. “As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with it’s rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ — is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny. “I believe that the social construction of gender — the cultural beliefs and practices that divide the sexes and institutionalize and normalize the unequal treatment of girls and women, privilege the interests of boys and men, and, most nefariously, incessantly sexualize girls and women — is the root cause of poverty and suffering around the world.” Though, all of hip-hop doesn’t deserve this criticism or subscribe to this practice of misogyny, there is a segment of the industry that profits from its perpetuation of a hyper sexual depiction of women, especially young women of color. Whether you support her comments or not, what is most significant is the connection Ms. Judd makes to rap music, sex and HIV/AIDS, one that apparently YouthAIDS failed to make.

In 2006, the RAND Corporation, a leading healthcare research organization produced the study “Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-Degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behaviour among Youth.” Dr Steven Martino, who led the US study, said that “sexually degrading lyrics” - many graphic and filled with obscenities – caused changes in adolescents’ sexual behaviour. “These portrayals objectify and degrade women in ways that are clear but they do the same to men by depicting them as sex-driven studs. Musicians who use this type of sexual imagery are communicating something very specific about what sexual roles are appropriate, and teenage listeners may act on these messages.”

This study didn’t tell us something we didn’t already know. Walk through any urban neighborhood in any major city and listen to the kids repeat the lyrics as soon as their favorite rapper comes on the radio. But what this study doesn’t address is the connection between these lyrics and the same audience having some of the high STDs and HIV infection rates in the country.

When thinking of that 16yr old girl in my class and knowing how she was connecting sex to her favorite rap songs, all I could hope was that she was practicing safe sex. According to the CDC, “African Americans were disproportionately affected by HIV infection, accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13–24.” Approximately 50 percent of all high school students in grades nine through 12 have had sexual intercourse; almost 25 percent of all 12th graders have had four or more partners. In addition, the sexual behavior of young people is highly influenced by the use of alcohol and drugs, which decreases decision-making skills and has a negative effect on behavior, according to a study by the American Federation of AIDS Research (2001).

These are alarming statistics and yet we are not alarmed as a community. We can no longer cry foul at the mere suggestion between hip-hop and sexual misconduct. This is not what hip-hop is suppose to be, its not the hip hop of my generation. The early days of hip-hop was about bragging about how fly you were, how good you could rhyme and what rapper got all the cute girls. But, with the development of gangster rap and the introduction of drugs and gang culture into hip-hop, women went from being Fly Girls to Hos, Golddiggers, Bitches and nothing more than a good f*ck. When you consider the depiction of women in most rap lyrics (listen to any Lil Wayne or Rick Ross song) its becomes easy to see how Ms. Judd came to her conclusion. But this is not really just about rap and hip-hop. Because when Lil Wayne has faded into dust, there will be another like him, if not worse.  What this is really about is treating youth solely as a marketing commodity. Pick almost any of MTV’s shows, The Jersey Shore or Skins (also known as Porn for Teens) and you can see how drugs, sex and violence are used as marketing tools to seduce them into whatever product is being sold. And although, we need to hold these artists, tv shows, record execs and anyone who makes a profit at the expense of our children accountable for the work they produce, we as a community of adults need to be more accountable as well.

While young people are overwhelmed by messages about sex from the music they listen to, to the shows they watch. The one message they don’t get is how to make healthy decisions about sex. Researchers at APA’s Annual Convention shared some of the latest research on what affects those messages and how parents and teachers can do more to help adolescents make better decisions.

“Christopher Houck, PhD, at Rhode Island Hospital, ran a study looking into whether mentally disordered teens’ “affect regulation” skills — their ability to make good decisions in the face of strong emotions — played a part in their attitudes toward and knowledge about sex. “If you don’t have good affect regulation skills, then if someone’s pressuring you to smoke pot or have sex, you’re more likely to engage in those behaviors,” he said. In a study, Houck used questionnaires to find out about the emotional awareness, affect management skills and attitudes toward sex of 138 seventh-graders in Rhode Island who had been identified as having, or as suspected of having, mental health problems. He then ran an after-school intervention program that taught teens how to identify their own emotions and strategies for dealing with them. When Houck tested those teens again a few weeks later, they reported better emotional awareness and increased use of strategies to get out of situations they didn’t want to be in”.

The same way we want our children to be financially responsible, educational advanced and socially aware, we must also want them to be sexually mature. You may not be able to stop them from having sex any more than you are able to keep them from drinking or smoking but you can arm them with tools to address the social pressures, mentally and emotional challenges of being in a sexual relationship. Safe sex education needs to happen as early as possible as the high infection rates of STDS in middle and junior high schools shows. This can and should include abstinence programs but should not be the sole form of STD and HIV awareness and safe sex education. And all forms of safe sex education should be paired with sports programs and other after-school activities. Studies prove the physical activites improves the academic performance and self esteem of youth that participate in such programs. All this to demonstrate, that the more active youth are, the more involved in sport, social, educational and cultural activities they are. The less likely there will be unplanned preganancies, HIV inections and STDS along with drugs and alcohol abuse. The more positive influences they have, the less likely the negative influences will play a major role in their lives. The simple suggestion from a rapper’s lyric will just be that. Making sure a child has all these positive influences are not just the job of their parensts but has to be the committment of the extended family, school and community. If we make this a community effort, if we take the time and use the resources at hand, then we can make a significant difference in the lives of this generation of youth. Teen pregnancy, STD and HIV statistics will drop but it will come at a cost. It may just hurt the record sales and tv ratings of some of the most popular shows and artists but that should be a chance we can be willing to take.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is TODAY


All too often women are powerless when it comes to negotiating sex, hence the rise in HIV across the world and in the United States. Lifebeat encourages women and girls to stand up for their sexual health, their rights and their lives. With the support of artists and the music industry we’re budiling a strong message of support for women and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that encourages people to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls. It is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). It helps organizations across the country come together to offer support, encourage discussion, and teach women and girls about prevention of HIV, the importance of getting tested for HIV, and how to live with and manage HIV/AIDS.

From the CDC

In 2009, nearly a quarter of diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States were among women and girls aged 13 years and older. Additionally, almost 184,000 women and adolescent girls were living with HIV at the end of 2008. More than 101,000 women and girls with AIDS have died since the epidemic began.

Photo: A woman

Women and girls of color—especially black women and girls—bear a disproportionately heavy burden of HIV infection. In 2009, for adult and adolescent females, the rate of diagnoses of HIV infection for black females was nearly 20 times as high as the rate for white females and approximately 4 times as high as the rate for Hispanic/Latino females. The reason women of color are more severely burdened by HIV and AIDS are not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to some of the barriers faced by many in these communities across the country. To end this epidemic, we must confront the Social Determinants that continue to place these women and girls at greater risk of contracting HIV. Social Determinants of Health are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age, as well as the systems put in place to deal with illness.

Relatively few cases were diagnosed among Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander females, and females reporting multiple races, although the rates for these groups were higher than the rate for white females.

CDC estimates that 1 in five people living with HIV infection in the United States do not know they are infected. Getting tested for HIV is the first step to protecting yourself and others. Knowing your own HIV status and that of your male sexual partners is critical because 85% of newly diagnosed HIV infections in American women and girls result from sex with an infected male partner. Early diagnosis of HIV allows for counseling and prompt treatment. HIV treatment prolongs life and reduces the risk of further HIV transmission. If you are a pregnant woman, it is especially important that you get tested early to help ensure, that if you are HIV-positive, you do not transmit the virus to your unborn child. Encouraging your partner to wear a condom every time you engage in sexual activity is another important way to protect yourself.

Make National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day a day to get the facts about HIV—to learn how HIV is spread, if you are at risk, and how to protect yourself and your loved ones. And, if you are a parent, talk with your kids about HIV. It’s time to get tested.

To find an HIV testing location near you, go to www.hivtest.org or text your ZIP Code to KNOW IT (566948). For more information on this day, theme, and events please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, which is leading activities for this observance.

What Can You Do?

  • Photo: A mohere and daughter.
  • Get tested for HIV. To find a testing site center near you, text your ZIP Code to KNOW IT (566948).
  • Talk with your health care provider about your risks for HIV.
  • Get the facts about HIV/AIDS by visiting the Act Against AIDS web site
  • including:
    • The risk factors for acquiring HIV.
    • How to avoid high-risk behaviors.
    • How to practice safer methods to prevent HIV.
  • Talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Volunteer at a local organization that serves people living with HIV.
  • Attend an event near you.
  • Learn more about the impact of HIV/AIDS among women in the United States.
  • Stand up against stigma, racism, and other forms of discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
  • Donate time and money to HIV/AIDS organizations.

National Black AIDS Awareness Events & Testing Sites

Events will be happening all month long throughout New York City and around the country!

From the Black AIDS Day website:

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, February 7th of every year, is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. There are four specific focal points: education, testing, involvement, and treatmentEducationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7th of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV. When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus. We need Black People from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas. And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount.

Bronx BLHC Adolescent & Young Adult Health Program,
Seeromanie Baboolall,
Social Worker
2737 Third Avenue
Bronx, New York 10451

O: 718-838-1029
F: 718-838-1016
E: sbabpola@bronxleb.org

  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing

Bronx Project Grow/Yeshiva University
Janet Smith,
260 East 16th Street, C Level
Bronx, New York 10451

O: 718-993-3397
F: 718-993-2460
E: jsmith@dosa.aecom.yu.edu

  • Other: Fact-o-mania Breakfast, Information, Games, Testing Referral and Education. Come get armed for the fight of your life.

Bronx Christ Church UCC
Rev. Bruce C. Rivera,
Executive Minister
860 Forest Avenue
Bronx, New York 10456

O: 718-665-6688
F: 718-665-5450

  • Candlelight Vigil
  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing

Bronx Bronx AIDS Service
SoJourner McCauley,

Community Services Coordinator
540 East Fordham Road
Bronx, New York 10458

  • Other:  We will be hosting a Singles Mixer for 21 & Over entitled “Sex, Milk and Cookies” This event will be a fun filled event with Speed Dating, Raffles and the Dating Game with
  • HIV prevention messages and information throughout the evening.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Bronx Montefiore Medical Center
Frances Rodriguez,

Patient Educator
111 East 210th Street
AIDS Center FCC-3rd Floor Clinic
Bronx, New York 10467

  • Art Competition
  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Webcast

Bronx Soundview Health Care Network
Marzetta Harris,

Board of Director
731 White Plains Road
Bronx, New York 10472

  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing
  • March/Rally
  • Other:  breakfast with the churches.

Brooklyn St. Paul Community Baptist Church Glinnie Noel-Chamble,
Director – Social Justice
859 Hendrix Street
Brooklyn, New York 11207

O: 718-257-1300, x138
F: 718-535-0449

Brooklyn Caribbean Women’s Health Education, Inc.
Ann Marie Coore,
Director of HIV Program
3512 Church Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11203

O: 718-940-9501
F: 718-826-2948
E: erooc@yahoo.com
W: http://www.cwha.org

  • Candlelight Vigil
  • HIV Testing
  • Other: HIV Workshop and education on site. condom negotiation skills and condom demonstration

Brooklyn Amethyst Women’s Project
Melisa Garber,

Peer Coordinator
1907 Mermaid Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11224

  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing

Brooklyn God’s Deliverance for Purpose Ministry Evangelist Robin Brown,Minister
731 Chauncey Street
Brooklyn, New York 11207

O: 347-394-6696
F: 917-591-5436
E: brownr@dicksteinshapiro.com

  • Community Forum
  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing

Brooklyn Turning Point
Margarita Ramos,
HIV Education Coordinator & Trainer
5220 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11220

O: 718-360-8121
F: 718-360-3965

  • HIV Testing
  • Other: Providing HIV prevention education presentations & FREE HIV Testing & Counseling for high-risk homeless African American youth (16-25) & young adults in 30-day emergency shelter & transitional housing sites in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Additional Information: Will also be in collaborations with other CBOs to commemorate NBHAAD by providing prevention education and FREE HIV Counseling & Testing.

Brooklyn Watchful Eye
Divinah “Dee” Bailey,
20 New York Avenue, Suite 100
Brooklyn, New York 11216

O: 347-533-4300
E: watchfuleyedb@aol.com
W: www.ourwatchfuleye.org

  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing
  • Mayoral Proclamation
  • Newspaper Article
  • Press Conference
  • Radio Broadcast
  • TV/Cable Programming
  • Other: Mural signing and red ribbon banner unveiling.
  • Additional Information: This event will be in collaboration with the Medgar Evers College (CUNY) of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn La Nueva Esperanza, Inc.
Rico Nieves,
MSA Program Coordinator
213 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11206

O: 718-497-7592
F: 718-497-7596
E: rnieves@lnebk.com

  • HIV Testing
  • Newspaper Article
  • Public Service Announcement

Brooklyn Brooklyn Community Pride Center Alicia or Danielle,
Social Work Intern
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

O: 718-802-3890 
E: dmooney@lgbtbrooklyn.org
W: lgbtbrooklyn.org

  • HIV Testing
  • Other: Guest Speakers

Brooklyn The Community Help Center, Inc.
Erlene King,
5221 Avenue D
Brooklyn, New York 11203

O: 347-298-6393
F: 347-382-7265
E: king_erlene@hotmail.com

  • Community Forum

Brooklyn Top Development Corporation
Ujima AIDS Project
1274 Utica Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11203

  • HIV Testing
  • HIV Testing done by BATF.

Buffalo The MOCHA Center
Stephaun Wallace,

Interim Executive Director/Director of Programs
1092 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14209

  • Art Competition
  • Candlelight Vigil
  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing
  • Newspaper Article
  • Press Conference
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Radio Broadcast
  • Other:  Performing and visual arts event Monday, February 7, 2011 Program begins at 2-5 pm Cocktail hour from 5-7pm (Cash Bar)

Farrockaway Redemption Outreach International
Rev Ambrose Chalokwu,
14-25 Central Avenue, Suite 4
Farrockaway, New York 11691

O: 347-654-5062
F: 718-868-8321
E:redemptionoutreachintl@yahoo.comW: redemptionoutreach.org

  • Community Forum
  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing
  • Newspaper Article
  • Press Conference
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Radio Broadcast
  • Other: Distribution of Educational and preventive materials as strategic locations from Wednesday  Feb. 9 to Friday Feb 11.
  • We will have essay/poetry competition for the youth on HIV/AIDS topics.

Ithaca Ithaca College LGBT Center
L Maurer,
LGBT Center
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, New York 14850

O: 607-274-7394 
E: lmaurer@ithaca.edu
W: www.ithaca.edu/lgbt

  • Community Health Fair
  • Newspaper Article
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Radio Broadcast

Manhattan Harlem Flava
Dolina Duzant,

620 Lenox Avenue 1E
Manhattan, New York N10037

  • Candlelight Vigil
  • Other:  Handing out condoms Male and Female, Street Outreach and education.

Manhattan Latino CommissionAIDS
Ileana Morales,

Program Director
24 West 25th Street, 9th Floor
Manhattan, New York 10010

  • HIV Testing
  • Other:  We will be offering HIV testing all day at our site until 7:00pm. We will also be at St. Paul’s Church at 263 West 86th street providing HIV testing.

New York AIDS Service Center
Jean Pierre Louis,
Program Manager
41 E 11th St 5th Floor
New York, New York 10003

O: 212-645-0875
F: 212-645-0705
E: Jean@ascnyc.org

  • HIV Testing
  • Other: CBO Event

New York Exponents
Donald R. Powell,
Director of Development
151 West 26th Street,
Third Floor
New York, New York 10001-6810

O: 212-243-3434, ext. 145
F: 212-243-3586
E: dpowell@exponents.org
W: www.exponents.org

  • Community Forum
  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing
  • Other: Displaying of AIDS Quilt

New York National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Theatre Initiative
Yvette Heyliger,
Producing Artist Twinbiz
Post Office Box 1803
New York, New York 10026

O: 212-864-1611
F: 212-864-6845
E: twinbiznyc@aol.com
W: www.twinbiz.com

  • Other: National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Theatre Initiative is an annual event taking place on February 7th featuring readings and productions of plays about HIV & AIDS with the purpose of using theatre to fight the  relentless and ongoing infection rate in our communities!
  • Other: This is a brand new theatre initiative inspired by a mentor of mine who expressed his wish to me that Black theatre do more to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities.  We are kicking off the initiative this year with a reading of my award winning play, “What Would Jesus Do?” in Los Angeles.  We hope to gain support for National Black HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Theatre Initiative with more play readings and productions registered next year.

New York SisterLink
Maryam Hmudeen,
Program Associate
127 West 127th St. 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10027

O: 212-665-2600, x307
F: 212-531-2160
E: maryamsisterlink2@yahoo.com

  • Other: HIV testing location resource and information.

New York Metro Health & Wellness Center Yvonne Hartnett,
Program Coordinator
45 East 126th Street
1975 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10035

O: 646-682-9476 or 212-289-6157
F: 212-289-6823
E: evehart55@hotmail.com

  • HIV Testing
  • Other: February 6, 2011, Our service will be dedicated to those living with or affected by this disease.
  • Additional Information:  We will do testing after church service.

New York Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children & Family Services
Yolanda Colon,
Program Support Aide
2090 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd Specialized Services,
3rd Floor
New York, New York 10027

O: 212-749-3656, ext 3105
F: 212-749-0614
E: ycolon@harlemdowling.org
W: www.harlemdowling.org

  • Community Health Fair
  • HIV Testing

New York Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center Monique Wright,
Prevention Services Coordinator
25 Allen Street
New York, New York 10002

O: 212-226-6333
F: 212-343-8005
E: monique@leshrc.org
W: www.leshrc.org

  • Candlelight Vigil
  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing
  • Other: We run various support groups for people who are HIV+. We are planning on having an ad hoc group “Supporting people with HIV!”

New York Can’t Be Silenced
Maria Davis,
121 W. 115th Street # 505
New York, New York 10026

O: 212-866-1562
F: 212-866-1562
E: davismaria@msn.com

  • HIV Testing
  • Other: New Artist Showcase & Talent Competition

New York First Corinthian Baptist Church
Maria Davis, Co-Convener
1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd
New York, New York 10026

O: 212-864-5975
F: 212-864-0830
E: healed@fcbc.org

  • HIV Testing
  • TV/Cable Programming
  • Other: Mad Wednesday’s New Artist Showcase & Talent Competition @”SHRINE”
  • World Music Venue in Harlem

New York Claremont Family Health Center Dorothy Johnson,
Medical Case Manager
262-4 E 174th St Bronx,
New York, New York 10457

O: 718-299-6910
F: 718-299-4366
E: djohnson@promesa.org

  • Other: Seminar and individual sessions providing information

New York Black Men’s Initiative at Harlem United
Raynal Jabouin, Jr.,

Program Director
290 Lenox Avenue
Lower Level
New York, New York 10027

212-289-2378, x206
  • HIV Testing

New York William F Ryan Community Health Center
Cinthia M. Tejada,

Supervising Health Educator
110 W 97th Street
New York, New York 10025

  • Community Forum
  • HIV Testing

New York New York Presbyterian Hospital- Comprehensive HIV Program
Kareen B. Jimenez,

Patient Education
180 Fort Washington Avenue
6th Floor
New York, New York 10032

  • HIV Testing