Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mecklenburg County Responds To Health Crisis Among African Americans with Free HIV/AIDS Testing

Charlotte, NC – On Friday, February 6, the Mecklenburg County Health
Department will take part in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS
Awareness Day. The day is set aside each year to raise awareness of
the vicious toll HIV/AIDS continues to inflict on African-American
communities across the United States.

While African-Americans account for only 13 percent of the nation's
population, this group represents almost half (49 percent) of the
people who contract HIV and are diagnosed with AIDS. In Mecklenburg
County, where African-Americans make up 31 percent of the population,
most recent statistics show that this group accounts for 69 percent of
all cases of HIV/AIDS.

"The primary goal of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to
motivate African-Americans to get tested and know their HIV status.
Its imperative that they know how the disease is transmitted, and get
treated if they are currently living with HIV," said Dr. Stephen
Keener, medical director for the Health Department.

This Friday, February 6, the Health Department will go on the road to
provide free, confidential HIV and syphilis testing. This event is
open to the public.

· Johnson C. Smith University,
100 Beatties Ford Road, Counseling and Testing Building 32
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department always offers free,
confidential testing at two locations, 2845 Beatties Ford Road and 249
Billingsley Road. Walk-ins are accepted or appointments can be made by
calling our appointment line at (704) 336-6500.

Residents with questions can also call the testing hotline at (704)
432-TEST seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Health
Department also offers HIV/STD education, HIV case management and an
HIV early intervention clinic.